Multi-Billion Dollar Upgrade for Brisbane City

As the capital of the Sunshine State Brisbane is blessed with idyllic subtropical weather all year round.  Add to this, massive growth in Brisbane's CBD, brought on by major developments across the city, will almost completely transform and modernise the Queensland capital by 2022. Given the scale of the approved, proposed and projects already under construction, it is abundantly clear that Brisbane in 2022 would be a very different city to the one seen today.

Brisbane Marketing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Brisbane City Council and is the city’s official economic development board. Brisbane Marketing's role is to promote Brisbane as Australia's New World City and create economic and social value for the residents and businesses. With more than $10 billion of projects scheduled for completion by 2022, Brisbane will be positioned to play a more significant role in the broader Asia Pacific region and will have legitimate claims to be a new world city.

Already, there has been a notable surge in population, including interstate migration and jobs growth in Brisbane and the surrounding South East Queensland Region. This is a virtuous cycle, boosting its attraction for investors, both domestic and international.

From a residential property market perspective, compared to other major cities Brisbane is a much more affordable option for both owner-occupiers and investors. For example, Brisbane median house prices are about 54% of those in Sydney. This is one of the key reasons why Interstate migration to Brisbane has been gathering momentum in recent times.

Major transformative projects within Brisbane to be delivered over the next five years include:


  • Cross River Rail (2022)
  • Proposed Brisbane Metro Route (2022)


  • South City Square (2023)
  • Millennium Square Precinct (2018)

Under Construction:

  • Queens Wharf Precinct (2022)
  • Howard Smith Wharves (2018)
  • Kingsford Smith Drive Upgrade (2019)
  • Herston Quarter (Late 2020s)
  • Brisbane Quarter (2018)
  • Brisbane Showgrounds (15 years from 2011)
  • Northshore Hamilton (20-year project)
  • Brisbane Airport New Runway (2020)

Master Plan Projects:

  • Brisbane Live (2022)
  • Brisbane Cruise Terminal (2020)

To better understand how these projects will modernise existing transports networks, add productive capacity and generally transform Brisbane City, the following provides a concise overview of each project.

Brisbane Airport New Runway

When it opens, Brisbane’s new runway will effectively double the airport’s capacity to deliver the needs of the community, as forecasts indicate that the number of passengers will grow from 22.7 million in FY17 to around 50 million in FY2035. In 2020 after 8 years in the making, Brisbane will have what will be the best runway system in Australia and possibly the southern hemisphere. The new runway is a key piece of infrastructure that will almost guarantee the ongoing growth of the SEQ region, the State of Queensland and the nation.  At a total cost of around $1.3 billion it has already provided hundreds of construction jobs and is expected that by 2035, it will generate up to 8,000 new jobs and an additional $5 billion in annual economic benefit for the region. By doubling capacity, to about 110 aircraft movements per hour, it will enable continued economic growth bringing in more flights, more choice and therefore competition for all business and leisure travel.

Brisbane Metro

Subject to funding and government approvals, this project is expected to begin in 2019 and be completed in 2022. Brisbane Metro comprises a high frequency metro network across existing busways, connecting key health, education, knowledge and entertainment centres. The Metro will run over 21 kilometres linking Eight Mile Plains, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and University of Queensland Lakes busway stations and all busway stations in between. It is a high-capacity, rapid transport connection that will go all around the inner city and surrounding suburbs and carry around 22,000 people per hour.

Brisbane Live and Cross River Rail

As a joint project, the Cross River rail will provide additional momentum for the 17,000 seat, indoor entertainment area, Brisbane Live, which has been proposed to be built on top of the Roma Street railway tracks, located in the heart of the current Roma Street precinct in the CBD, an area in proximity to key destinations including Caxton Street, the Paddington Barracks and Suncorp Stadium. Cross River Rail is expected to alleviate the inefficiencies of the current transportation system, allowing more trains to run more often and enabling a turn up and go transport system.

Herston Quarter

Under 5km from the Brisbane CBD, this project will start with the construction of a specialist rehabilitation and ambulatory care centre, and will later include a private hospital, aged-care and retirement living, student and residential accommodation, public and private childcare facilities, retail and commercial facilities and public realm works designed to improve the connectivity between Herston Quarter and the wider Herston Health Precinct.  This project has the potential to position Brisbane as a world class healthcare, knowledge and research destination.

Brisbane Cruise Terminal

Expected to be complete in 2020, along with other major infrastructure projects (Queen’s Wharf and Brisbane Airport New Runway), the construction of a permanent terminal that can accommodate the larger cruise liners will boost Brisbane’s reputation as a world class tourist destination

Brisbane Quarter

The city’s first mixed use development that includes three towers: apartment, retail and office. The $800 million Brisbane Quarter on the site of the former Supreme and District Court will consist of a 39-storey office building, a 32-storey W Brisbane Hotel and a residential tower. Brisbane Quarter will have a tower that is equal to the current highest in the city of 274 metres.

Kingsford Smith Drive upgrade will involve widening the road from four to six lanes between Theodore Street at Eagle Farm and Cooksley Street at Hamilton. It will also include improvement works between Cooksley Street and Breakfast Creek Road at Albion. One of the city’s most significant routes will be transformed to accommodate increased flow of traffic volumes, providing upgraded public transport, pedestrian and cycling facilities.

South City Square

Closely located to cultural centres of South Bank and West End, and the CBD, this urban regeneration project dubbed the City’s new social square will be completed over seven stages. It is expected to be a new ‘concentrated activities centre’ and include retail, residential and hospitality offerings.

Howard Smith Wharves The development will be transformed into a riverside precinct that connects the New Farm Riverwalk and the CBD, as well as revitalise Petrie Bight. There will be a 164-room hotel, an exhibition centre and restaurants and cafes.

Queen’s Wharf Precinct Upon completion, Queen’s Wharf Precinct will position Brisbane as a world-class tourist and entertainment destination, transforming a previously underutilised area into a place of leisure for locals and visitors. It will feature an iconic tourist attraction called the ARC Deck that will span across four new buildings. The resort precinct will be connected to South Bank by a newly-built pedestrian bridge and will include five new premium hotel brands, three residential towers and many restaurants, cafes and bars. It is a $3 billion precinct that will become a hub that connects the key attractions of the city, including the Botanic Gardens, Queen Street Mall, South Bank, the Cultural Precinct and Brisbane River.

Northshore Hamilton

Just six km outside of the Brisbane CBD, this long term urban renewal project (over the next 20 years) will transform an industrial area into a riverside precinct stretching 2.5 km along the Brisbane River and is expected to add over 15,000 jobs to Brisbane.

Brisbane Showgrounds

At only 1.5 km outside the Brisbane CBD, this project, once complete, will be where more than 15,000 people are expected to live, work and play.  The upgraded Showgrounds will include a state of the art international convention centre, residential apartments, commercial precinct and the creation of King Street which now features a 208-room hotel and many restaurants.

Millennium Square Precinct

Located in Bowen Hills, the first stage of this project will include a 44,000 square metre commercial tower, and the second stage is set to feature up to seven apartment buildings, a hotel and an underground retail centre.

In summary, these multi-billion-dollar projects when considered together will simply redefine and modernize the Queensland State economy and focus growth and business opportunities within the States capital.

Projects and Infrastructure Supply within 6km of the Brisbane CBD

If you interested in understanding more around property and development opportunities in this space or to know more about the upcoming infrastructure projects that will shape Brisbane, please contact the author Mark Courtney at or on 07 3221 8166.