Plans for a $2 billion arena and entertainment precinct in the heart of Brisbane are set to jump to the next level this week.
Entrepreneur Harvey Lister will meet State Government officials on Friday to discuss progress on his ambitious proposal to transform the city’s ugly Roma St Railyards into a work-class sports and entertainment venue.
The Brisbane Live concept — modelled on the hugely successful LA Live complex in the United States — has been under assessment for the past 12 months through the Palaszczuk Government’s market-led proposals scheme to encourage private initiatives to boost the economy and create jobs.
Tourism leaders say the development would help lift the Queensland capital to a new level, competing with cities such as Melbourne as a major events destination. The Brisbane Live precinct would feature a 17,000 seat arena for concerts and sporting events.
There is strong support within government for the plan and The Sunday Mail understands this week’s meeting is likely to see it move to stage two, fine-tuning the project details including due diligence.
The chairman of Brisbane-based international venue management group AEG Ogden, has already prepared a 150-page detailed financial brief and engaged JLL — one of the country’s leading commercial property agencies — to explore the opportunities to attract private investment in hotels, apartments, restaurants, shops, offices and possibly even education or research facilities around the 17,000-seat main arena.
Star Entertainment Group’s Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg said they were “excited’’ by Brisbane Live. “We see the proposal being part of Brisbane’s transformation alongside developments such as our Queen’s Wharf Brisbane integrated resort, the new Brisbane runway and Howard Smith Wharves redevelopment … evolving Brisbane into a truly internationally competitive city.”
The arena could host performances by music superstars, big-ticket stage shows such as Aladdin and The Wizard of OZ, and indoor sports spectaculars like touring American NBA basketball and NHL ice-hockey as well as international tennis tournaments.
The Brisbane Live precinct would be built on a ‘’lid’’ above the rail corridor between the Normanby Fiveways and Roma St Forum. An artist’s impression of the main arena.
JLL Australia chief executive Stephen Conry said the proposal was “a terrific vision to unlock an enormous and under-utilised part of the CBD” which was currently an eyesore into an unparalleled investment opportunity.
“LA Live has transformed an unsavoury part of that city into an extremely successful venue and AEG Ogden’s vision can mirror that impact.”
It was the final piece in ‘’an emerging jigsaw’’ that would open an entertainment corridor all the way from Suncorp Stadium to Queens Wharf and across the river to South Bank.