Controversial plans for a heritage building and hotel in Brisbane

Woolloongabba residents have slammed plans to redevelop a fire-damaged heritage building and hotel in Brisbane. The proposal is currently being considered by council. — A heritage building in Brisbane could soon undergo an extensive facelift, seven years after it was destroyed by a fire. Built in 1889, the Broadway Hotel provided luxurious accomodation for tourists until its demise in July 2010. It appears the property was under-insured at the time. Although the Woolloongabba building closed its doors to business, homeless people sought shelter within its walls for some time. Now there are plans to turn the damaged building into a $260 million residential complex with commercial tenancies. Brisbane City Council is considering the proposal, which was submitted by a property developer in March 2017. Majella Property Developments said they hope to combine heritage and culture with economic growth in the area. They want to revitalise the heritage hotel, and build an adjacent 27-storey residential tower that includes:
  • A bar
  • 262 units
  • 33 commercial tenancies
  • A five level basement car park
But local residents have slammed the plans and Brisbane City Council has also expressed doubts.

Why is the redevelopment of this heritage building in Brisbane so controversial?

The controversy stems from the extent of the demolition, which includes World War II bunkers on the site. There are also concerns about the height of the 27-storey tower, which exceeds the 20-storey limit imposed on the area. A number of public submissions have been made, citing reasons such as building neglect and poor safety conditions.
“I do not think council should reward owners who neglect significant fabric of heritage buildings by giving them approval to demolish the building they left to rot.”

Second fire caused by suspicious circumstances at Brisbane heritage hotel…

A second fire broke out at the Broadway Hotel in 2017, two months after property owners lodged their development application. The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services investigation report concluded the fire was suspicious and may have been deliberately lit. Firefighters were unable to enter the building, because it wasn’t safe enough. Council approved emergency work to make the building safer in September last year. This includes securing and waterproofing the site. Brisbane City Council is currently considering plans to redevelop the heritage hotel into a residential tower complex.