After developing the Brisbane Cruise Terminal in partnership with the Queensland Government and welcoming 1,250 vessels since 2006, generating an estimated injection of $2.5 billion into the local economy, Brookfield Properties is now turning a new leaf at Portside Wharf.
The terminal is set to officially close its doors as the mantle gets passed to the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal further downstream at Port of Brisbane, paving the way for Brookfield to envisage a new era for the Brisbane riverfront lifestyle and residential precinct at Hamilton.
The developer successfully funded, developed, owned and operated the facility over the last 15 years, but Brookfield views the departure as an opportunity to open up the existing Portside Wharf precinct as a different kind of destination with a $20 million makeover that will enhance dining, community events and experiences.
Just upriver from the planned Olympic Athletes' Village in Northshore Hamilton, the reimagined locale will enhance views and access to the river through an extended entry plaza and main street, and create additional shading and landscaping to support expanded year-round outdoor dining.
The developer also plans to establish areas dedicated to lifestyle and wellness, convenience and boutiques, and attract exciting new tenancies within defined dining, retail and entertainment sub-precincts. Through a partnership with designer Cavill Architects and city-shapers Urbis, early work has commenced and the project is expected to be finalised by December 2023.
"The Brisbane Cruise Terminal has been an outstanding feature of our Portside Wharf community for 15 years. The removal of the cruise ships provides an opportune moment for us to take the precinct in an exciting new direction," said Brookfield Residential Properties managing director, Lee Butterworth.
Since 2006, Brookfield Residential Properties has delivered more than 850 apartments at Portside Wharf, along with its riverfront dining, shopping and lifestyle precinct which is home to some of the city’s most renowned venues.
"Across the board, our Portside Wharf retailers have welcomed the news and the new opportunities it will bring their customers,” Butterworth said.
“Retail trade in the precinct is sitting at pre-pandemic levels, meaning the pause on cruise ships during the pandemic has not had an overall adverse impact on our businesses.”
Portside Wharf features more than 12,000sqm of retail, dining and entertainment space and is already home to some of Brisbane’s most popular venues, including Byblos, Gusto Da Gianni, Sono Japanese Restaurant, Dendy Cinema and the recently expanded Zeneldin’s IGA, with additional retailers to be announced soon.
Nehme Ghanem, director of Ghanem Group, which owns popular Mediterranean bar and restaurant, Byblos, said news of the terminal closure meant it could now make full use of its prime location directly on the wharf year-round.
“While it was fantastic for Portside Wharf to welcome visitors from all over the world as part of the cruise terminal, it was an advantage for Byblos not having the ships port here during the pandemic,” he said.
“With restrictions on the use of the wharf now lifted, our guests can enjoy the spectacular absolute riverfront location and views to the Brisbane CBD every day of the week.
“We’ve found our trade has actually improved as a result and believe now it is a permanent decision, we’ll only continue to attract new customers to Portside Wharf.”
Peter McCloskey, founder and managing director of The Fresh Collective, which opened Waters Edge Weddings and Events at Portside Wharf earlier this year, agreed.
“We certainly see it as a positive for our business, as we know cruise ships porting at the precinct created some challenges in terms of restricted views and access to the river’s edge,” he said.
“Waters Edge Weddings and Events joined Portside Wharf at a time when the cruise ships were on hold during the pandemic, so we’ve been able to embrace the full benefits of this fantastic location, most notably the beautiful views across the Brisbane River and city.
“Certainly, as a wedding and events venue, these aspects are a key point of difference for us and one that is hard to match elsewhere in the city."
Last month second-generation restaurateur Michael Tassis announced his next venture Fosh would open at Portside Wharf early next year, serving fresh and sustainably-sourced seafood overlooking the Brisbane River.
The refined seafood restaurant will span 700sqm and feature a Hampton’s-inspired design, with work expected to commence shortly on an extensive $3 million fit-out, ahead of an anticipated March 2023 opening.
Fosh will join the list of celebrated venues by the renowned restaurateur and Tassis Group director, including Opa Bar + Mezze and Massimo Restaurant & Bar at Eagle Street, Yamas Greek + Drink at West End and George’s Paragon.
Tassis is also the name behind Fatcow Steak & Lobster and Rico Bar + Dining, which were formerly housed at Eagle Street, and are anticipated to open in new locations soon.
He said Fosh would embrace its stunning riverfront location at Portside Wharf, with a menu that paired perfectly with its position and a design that featured views, space, light and natural elements inspired by the water.
"The fit-out will include a glamorous island bar, fireplace and generously sized indoor area suitable for entertaining large groups, which will flow effortlessly to the outside alfresco area, where guests can enjoy a meal and uninterrupted views of the river," Tassis said.
"We’ve also dedicated space for a casual yet upmarket fish and chip offering, ideal for families and friends looking for a relaxed, tasty and fresh meal to go."
He explained Fosh was born of his love for seafood, which stemmed from a childhood spent at his family’s restaurant.
“My passion for seafood comes from working as a boy with my father, George, who founded George's Paragon Seafood Restaurant in Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast over thirty years ago. It’s very much in my roots,” he said.
"Fosh’s focus will be on serving fresh, high-quality and sustainable seafood that is on our guests' plates within 24 hours of being caught, including fish, lobster, mud crabs, oysters and more."
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