The Gold Coast is set to host a huge new master planned city to the north of the established urban settlement, with plans for the record-breaking sale of a raft of sprawling cane fields.

The Norwell Valley site consists of a total of 248 properties covering an area over 10 times greater than that of Surfers Paradise.

The 40 landowners participating in the sale expect the huge plot of land bound by the M1 and Moreton Bay to fetch a record-breaking price of over $1 billion, enabling the many cane farmers taking part in the deal to make a lucrative exit from a long struggling industry.

The site is destined to become Australia's biggest master planned city, with any future purchasers assuming the role of master planners responsible for obtaining government approvals and delivering required infrastructure and green space.

The $32 billion Greater Springfield development, situated in Queensland's Ipswich, is at present the largest master planned city in Australia with a total area of 2,860 hectares, and a project population of more than 100,000 once it's fully occupied.

The master planned community slated for Norwell Valley will be more than three times the size of Greater Springfield, covering a total of 6117 acres.

Stockbroker Wayne Cummins and architect Rob Machon, both of whom are Sydney natives who opted to relocate to the Gold Coast, are the driving force behind the deal to convert struggling cane fields into a new master planned city. The pair reportedly conceived the idea for the deal during a game of golf with local cane farmer Arthur Fiumini.


Given its sheer cost and scale, cash-flush Chinese developers are being eyed as leading candidates for purchase of the property, particularly given its strong potential as a site for theme parks or coastal vacation resorts.

Canford Property, responsible for the Norwell Valley sales campaign, said in an official statement that it had contacted "some of China's largest developers and theme park operators who want to unseat Disney and develop one of the world's largest theme parks on the Gold Coast."

Wang Jianlin, one of China's richest men and head of the Wanda Group, is a particularly strong contender for purchase of the Norwell Valley site, given his avowed ambitions to build Disney theme parks around the world, and his involvement with the Jewel Development in Surfers Paradise.

The proposed Norwell Valley city is unlikely to come to fruition any time soon, however, with approvals and zoning amendments expected to take over a decade to negotiate.

  • I can see a number of positives in relation to this proposal, particularly the fact of being able to get so many owners being prepared to 'pool' their interests to be able to plan and potentially implement the proposals for such a significantly-sized area on a 'Master Planned' basis. Nevertheless there are certainly a range of major challenges to be faced and overcome, such as:
    – development of new transport and other major infrastructure connections to the west, north and south [probably over routes affecting land yet to be secured], and not just for the future project population seeking to access facilities and services in these directions, but also from external populations seeking access to the future site facilities and services;
    – the relatively low-lying nature of much [most?] of the land in relation to current projections for rising sea levels over the next 50 years planning and development period [which could potentially open up opportunities for substantial water-oriented development, within a significant natural open-space setting];
    – the impact of removal of such a large area of cane-land from sugar production further weakening the viability of the mill to the extent of raising the issue of the future use of the 'balance' lands.

    Planning & development solutions to these issues can no doubt be identified, and applied in an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable manner, but to my mind the successful progressing of this project, and that of the future of the surrounding lands, would be greatly enhanced if the 'balance area' land-owners' could also see the advantages from 'pooling' their interests to approach and resolve such issues on a cooperative 'master-planning' basis.

  • This isn't far from us and these plans come up every couple of years, last time it was a new international airport, before that a motor racing circuit and complex. The poor bloody cane field owners haven't been allowed to sub divide for over 15 years and they had to convert their sugar mill into a power station because sugar prices have sucked for years……… hopefully this time something comes of it but I wont hold my breathe.