URBIS: The Town Planning Agency Shaping The Future Of SEQ

WORDS: Oean Road Magazine PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Urbis is a multinational property development company which has had offices in Brisbane for over 20 years and the Gold Coast for almost 10 years. This market presence in delivery of town planning, design, and property economics services has allowed Urbis to respond to recent unprecedented growth in South East Queensland, looking to guide growth in housing, infrastructure, and commercial and public sectors in the coming years.

With Directors across town planning, property economics and design, the multi-disciplinary office of Urbis Gold Coast is well-placed to provide advice on the market and understand the conflicting forces of product delivery and ever-increasing demands. Planning Director Patrick Hefferan is at the forefront of the intricacies and complexities of the industry. “This market needs to respond with a clear vision for the region and innovative urban planning solutions. Urbis is a leader in this field.” Mr Hefferan said.

“The Gold Coast is a City coming of age.” Mr Hefferan said “We have three universities, major hospitals, large-scale commercial offerings, the country’s largest theme parks, as well as large road and light rail infrastructure commitments. Combined with our local environment, beaches and hinterland, it is no surprise that the Gold Coast lifestyle continues to attract regional migration.”

This is shown in Urbis’ quarterly Apartment Essentials report, a benchmark for up-to-date and quarterly independent apartment market data which is used by the property industry and media to gain an understanding of trends such as sales and construction updates in the Southeast Queensland apartment sector.

Paul Riga, Urbis Director and Apartment Essentials lead says the company is excited about where it is positioned in Queensland to capitalise on the growth prospects of the region, as it progresses through the coming decade.

According to the Gold Coast Apartment Essentials report, the Gold Coast’s new apartment sales have stabilized after record-breaking results in 2021.

“The report reveals that Q1 2023 recorded 288 sales, on par with the previous quarter, with 1,437 new apartment supplies at the end of Q1 2023, and an average sale price of $1.24 million,” explains Mr Riga.

“The economic impacts of higher construction costs, increasing interest rates, approvals delays, and increasing land prices are adding pressure to the development of land and this is contributing to the release of predominantly higher-end products, but at the same time adding pressure in supplying the wider market with dwellings.”

Mr Hefferan believes that securing outcomes in this planning environment is becoming even more critical as the region enjoys and faces the challenge of incredible population growth from interstate.

“We are acutely aware of the growth trajectory that Southeast Queensland is on and there is certainly a dire need to make sure we get our planning right as we manage the exciting growth prospects of the region. The Gold Coast is forecast to see an increase of around 150,000 residents between 2022 and 2037, being around 60,000 dwellings.”

“To achieve this, we will ensure there is a lot of thought for inner city Gold Coast and opportunities for low- and middle-income housing with less car reliance, microclimate design, alternate funding models, and increased sense of community. This will have to be in non-traditional forms and increasingly in mixed-use precincts. We need to include Built to Rent and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation in our precincts to support our Centres and reduce the pressure on traditional housing stock.’

Mr Hefferan also says the 2032 Olympics to be held in Brisbane presents not only major planning challenges but incredible opportunities.

“As town planners, the upcoming Olympics in 2032 offer Queensland an extraordinary canvas upon which to paint a legacy of sustainable growth and development.”

“The surge in investment and infrastructure development required to host the Olympics will leave a lasting imprint, providing a solid foundation for future urban planning initiatives and catalysing long-term economic growth.”

“The Gold Coast has immense potential for transformative growth, and we are committed to creating vibrant communities, improving connectivity, and enhancing infrastructure to establish the Gold Coast as a premier destination for residents, businesses, and tourists,” says Mr Hefferan.

With its vision, collaborative approach, and commitment to sustainability, Urbis is well-positioned to navigate the challenges and contribute to the continued success of Southeast Queensland as it continues through what has been described as the ‘golden decade’.