The real reason behind government's ‘tower of power’ push
CONSOLIDATING hundreds of the Gold Coast bureaucrats into a single building would slash the significant cost of renting nearly 50 offices across the city.
At the same time, property experts say, it would create the city's tallest corporate tower of power with 29 storeys - seven more than 50 Cavill Ave.
Mayor Tom Tate is lobbying the State Government to sign up for a joint venture with the council to develop an office tower in the heart of Southport to house staff from both tiers of government.
The Gold Coast Bulletin this week revealed the Mayor would pitch the bold proposal in a letter to State Development Minister Cameron Dick.
Figures provided to the Bulletin show 14 state agencies are spread across 48 separate tenancies on the Gold Coast, for a total floor space of 29,000sq m or about 29 storeys in lettable areas.
Supporters of the "tower of power'' proposal say the figures add considerable weight to the argument for the building.
Businessman and Committee for Southport chairman John Howe said the project would help generate hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for the Gold Coast's central business district.
"As a person who represents the business community of Southport, I would say that there is a very good question to be asked of state and federal governments and the council - why would you not look at consolidating all of these places into one area?" he said.
"This would encourage private investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars range.
"Just look at the examples of Newcastle or Parramatta where billions were invested in increasing the opportunity for jobs and this would be good for everyone on the Gold Coast.''
The proposal included plans for a tower to house a state satellite office for the hundreds of Gold Coast-based workers who have to tackle the gridlocked M1 each day, and satellite offices for government ministers such as Kate Jones (Tourism Industry Development) who spend time on the Gold Coast as part of their portfolio.
Cr Tate said any tower would be funded through private partnership on land owned by the council.
Mal Burke car park, opposite the Southport courts in Hinze St, Southport, has been proposed as a site for a tower that could house a Supreme Court, and a highrise building to house council and state bureaucrats could be built on the nearby Athol Paterson car park near the library.
Cr Tate said he was putting up the proposal to stimulate investment development in Southport.
"I have been working on this for about eight months and when I look around Southport, I have been waiting for other proponents to get their (approved developments) off the ground.
"The shovel has not been breaking the ground and in proposing this initiative, I believe it will make action happen."
The plan also includes moving the council chambers from Evandale to the Southport Library site.
CBRE Gold Coast director Nick Selbie, who specialises in office leasing, said because floorplates tend to be larger today, 29,000sq m of office space would not create a tower as tall as in the past.
While 50 Cavill Ave has 16,661sq m of space across 22 levels, a current-day tower would look different with 1000sq m the minimum floorplate in new office buildings.
"Floorplates are larger today because it creates greater efficiencies," he said.
"As you go higher the more expensive it becomes."
Property Council of Australia executive director Chris Mountford said the council should be commended' for its strategic thinking.
"State and local government commitments could act as a circuit breaker to help these commercial projects stack up," he said.
"The proposal would of course need to be fully considered in detail to ensure it is a genuine economic catalyst that responds to local market demand and drivers.
"The city's property industry is keen to work with council and the State Government to unlock the next generation of office space on the Gold Coast."