Queen Street’s Crowning Jewel
For decades, Brisbane city’s Queen Street Mall was structured around an internalised retail offering. With shops enveloped within multi-storey shopping centres and arcades, customers required an acute local’s knowledge to hunt out key retail destinations. Before the times of e-commerce and social e-shopping, this mode of hide-and-seek shopping was the norm. But as bricks and mortar retail has come under increasing pressure to step up and stimulate customers, old-hat retail models like Queen Street Mall’s have become an outright roadblock to doing good business.
Property fund management group, ISPT, has been instrumental in turning the retail offering along this central CBD strip ‘inside out’. With a cluster of assets along the mall, including Wintergarden, Hilton Hotel, The Regent and 155 Queen Street, ISPT has seen many of the commercial properties developed and the condition of the mall re-shaped to create a retail environment that allows brands to compete with the encroaching force of e-commerce. It also offers customers an attractive retail proposition that’s ‘there to be seen’ and experienced.
ISPT’s most recent acquisition of 170 Queen Street (previously known as Broadway on the Mall) represents the jewel in the crown of their unfolding CBD retail strategy. The site’s corner location provided ISPT with a prime opportunity to create a clearer unimpeded frontage and, in doing so, attract the kind of international flagships that would continue to raise the bar on Brisbane’s retail scene.
When it came to developing the site, ISPT general manager Development Service Chris McCluskey says it was quite a confined development environment. “In the case of Broadway you have a relatively challenging construction access from [the adjacent] Adelaide Street… and we were influenced by site specific challenges.”
Rather than start from scratch, ISPT opted to work with the site’s existing structure, teaming up with John Wardle Architects and NDY to deliver on the design and 4 Star Green Star – Retail Design v1 Certified Rating, respectively.
“The intrinsic structure had large spatial volumes, and considerable slab-to-slab heights in excess of 4.5 metres – very suitable for flagship objectives,” says McCluskey.
However, achieving a 4 Star Green Star retail design rating, which represents best practice in environmentally sustainable design, would require some clever design and structural manoeuvres. Flagships stores tend to have demanding energy needs, as McCluskey points out.
“There’s the open facades, and heating and cooling of spaces right where the public access points are. Not to mention large screen televisions and audio visual requirements from open to close.”
With long-time partners NDY, ISPT set about creating an environment that, through its development, construction and final form, would offset the running costs. And all this achieved within the existing retail space.