New players for CBD

APRIL 2010

DIGITAL communication trends will mean big changes for Brisbane’s commercial property sector, with ‘collaborative’ office space for SMEs and more global players in the CBD, says MacroPlan Australia CEO Brian Haratsis.

Haratsis says digital communication changes will likely lead to substantial growth for micro-business and SME activity.

“Then there will be a new class of property that won’t be like the old style offices, more collaborative than traditional in set up,” he says.

“It will be shared and it won’t just be in CBDs, but in peripheral areas. In Brisbane there’s a lot of concentration in the CBD and the Valley, but that will change, as SMEs will be fundamentally more distributed, like the kind of offices we’re seeing in Kawana Waters on the Sunshine Coast.”

He says the distribution of SMEs from the city centre will make way for a new breed of global players in the CBD, but commercial property investors will need to boost quality to attract them.

“Those involved in the commercial property market will need to invest in maintaining and growing their property, because in the future they will need to pitch to global companies, unless they want to pitch to government.

“If they want to pitch to the public sector they can have A- property, but that’s for a reducing market share – otherwise they need to have A+.

“The big issue for Brisbane is that there are very few town centres outside the CBD – one of the big plans is Bowen Hills but that’s still close to the CBD, still in a relatively congested location.”

Haratsis says the upside is that it’s very hard to expand in the CBD, with long-term constraints expected that will bring good returns to investors who maintain their properties to global modern standards.

He expects the current short-term oversupply of commercial property to turn around in the second half of 2012 once projects in the Surat and Bowen Basins enter their first phases of construction.

“There will be a prestige market – one of the impacts of digitalisation is globalisation, whereby CBDs are more specialised for large corporates and global corporations, with a need for a mix between ‘face time’ and global connectivity,” says Haratsis.

“There’s one big difference in Brisbane. The financial sector in Australia is concentrated in Sydney but one of the things Brisbane is good at is facilitating resource development, with a very international role already.”

He says Springfield will also continue to grow with government and mid-size corporate office space, but will unlikely carry all the benefits of globalisation without proximity to the airport.

“The black swan even though could be the Brisbane Airport, which is still underdone and there’s a lot of opportunities for more businesses to open up there in the future, with an excellent rail to the CBD too.”

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