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$2 billion waterfront development will pay tribute to historic past

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A $2.1 billion twin tower office project planned for Brisbane’s Eagle Street Pier will pay tribute to the traditional owners as well as the city’s original settlers’ market.

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The Dexus group has applied to build two towers of 49 storeys and 43 storeys, with a combined 120,000 square metres of office space, on the site of the 30-year-old Eagle Street Pier. There will also be a prominent retail and dining component closer to ground level, and public markets to reflect how the site was being used about 150 years ago.

If approved by Brisbane City Council, work on Waterfront Brisbane would commence in 2022, requiring that section of the Riverwalk to be closed for two years and the first tower completed by 2026. The second tower would not be built for some time and likely be left as public and retail space in the interim.

Documents lodged with council acknowledge the land along the Brisbane River was home to the Jagera people for up to 40,000 years prior to the arrival of European settlers.

“In 1866, Brisbane’s first produce market was established on the riverfront at the exact site of Waterfront Brisbane,” the documents state.

According to the plans, an area between the new buildings and the Waterfront Place office tower would become Mary Street Plaza, linking to new retail and dining areas, an upgraded Riverwalk and the proposed Kangaroo Point pedestrian and cycle bridge nearby.

“The primary new public space, Mary Street Plaza is a generous space of city-scale proportions extending between heritage-listed Naldham House and the Brisbane River,” the documents state.

“As an extension of the Mary Street axis, it is the main new connection between city and water both visually and physically via the Market Steps. Highly activated and well located along major pedestrian routes, it is envisioned that it will play host to public events such as markets. Public art and subtropical landscaping will complement a range of retail offerings at the perimeter.”

In Parliament last week, State Development Minister Kate Jones confirmed government land had been provided to Dexus as a form of economic stimulus.

“This project has the potential to create more than 1000 construction jobs and will transform the tired old Eagle Street precinct into one of the most attractive places in the country to visit and to do business,” Jones said.

“When this development starts to come online in 2026, Brisbane will be an entirely new city, with Cross River Rail up and running and the $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf shopping and dining precinct fully operational on the other side of town. We are doing the hard work now to ensure that Brisbane is the envy of cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.”

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