Queensland Uni Loses Bid to Stop 47-Storey Tower

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Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
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A major university in Queensland as lost its bid to block a 47-storey apartment complex in Brisbane after a court struck down its appeal in the case.

Handing down a decision to uphold an approval by the Brisbane City Council of the 47-storey, $375 million luxury apartment tower at 443 Queen Street, the Planning and Environment Court of Queensland said the council’s delegate had acted correctly within the bounds of his jurisdiction in making the decision.

Billed as Brisbane’s first truly subtropical tower, the new complex is being developed by Cbus Property and features a 40-storey residential tower including 264 apartments, restaurants, cafes, public space and six levels of elevated and landscaped car parking.

Whilst the development was approved last December, a legal challenge was launched by the University of Queensland, which owns the heritage listed Customs House neighboring the development.

In its application, the university argued the council had erred in its decision to treat the development as code assessable, and that the decision to approve both the allocation of transferable development rights and the overall development application were unreasonable.

Transferable development rights are a mechanism which allows developers to transfer building height potential from heritage sites onto non-heritage sites which they own within the city area.

In this case, Cbus has applied to transfer development rights from a heritage listed property it owns at the corner of Queen and Creek streets onto the Queen Street property.

In its submission, the university argued the purpose and intention of these rights was to protect heritage sites.

In his decision, however, judge William Emmerson rejected this argument, saying the application was clearly code assessable, the assessment of the both the development application and the TSA was conducted lawfully and appropriately and that the university had not adequately demonstrated that the approval should be set aside.

“The evidence before me, including the evidence of Mr Leeds, is such that I cannot be satisfied that the Decision Notice is invalid and ought to be set aside,” Emmerson said.

The decision follows the announcement of moves on the part of the government on July 20 that it would reintroduce a state trigger for any proposed developments which share a common boundary with heritage sites. The measure would require proposed developments which border on heritage sites to be referred to the State Assessment and Referral Agency.

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