Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state government will start market sounding for a new Brisbane Live arena in the heart of the city.

The announcement came as the Premier also announced public consultation will start on the Precincts Delivery Strategy to transform the city through the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.

“We know that by unlocking under-utilised land in the heart of the city like Roma Street, we can leverage significant private sector investment and create jobs,” the Premier said.

“Brisbane Live has the potential to deliver 450 jobs per year during construction, with 1000 jobs in the peak year and 600 ongoing jobs once operational.

A concept design for an over-rail CBD entertainment arena has been done for 65,101sqm GFA with a capacity of up to 18,000 people. This is compared to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre’s 60,000sqm GFA and 14,500 person capacity.

“Everyone wants to see a new, world-class arena in the heart of Brisbane and through this strategy, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will now launch market sounding to attract the best concepts from the private sector.

The new arena would have outward-facing retail opportunities on the Roma Street frontage as well as a ‘Sky Lounge’ which operates as a function space during non-event times.

It is understood that ASM Global and Live Nation will both bid for the right to build and manage the new entertainment arena complex.

“Roma Street is one of seven sites that was investigated as a potential location through the detailed business case development.

Artist's impression of Brisbane Live from Roma Street
Artist’s impression of Brisbane Live from Roma Street

Ms Jones said the Cross River Rail Delivery Strategy would provide development opportunities at the five new high-capacity stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street, Roma Street, and Exhibition.

“The Delivery Strategy we’re announcing today will see up to 22 hectares of prime real estate in the heart of Brisbane revitalised,” she said.

“Expert analysis shows the Cross River Rail Precincts could help generate up to $20 billion worth of new economic development and around 35,000 new jobs.

“Brisbane Live, a new world class arena is a great example of the new assets Brisbane could gain through this precinct strategy. Globally we know these types of venues next to a new underground high-capacity train station with connections to other public transport modes re-invigorate the entire area.

Artist's impression of a concept Brisbane Live design showing new public square
Artist’s impression of a concept Brisbane Live design showing new public square

“The new Cross River Rail stations will connect people, communities and businesses providing opportunities for a wave of economic growth, development and investment, boosting our economy and creating jobs,” Ms Jones said.

In addition to a significant revitalisation of the Roma Street area, Cross River Rail’s Precinct Development Strategy will also deliver a new Exhibition station at the RNA Showgrounds, providing year-round rail services for both the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the growing RNA Showground Lifestyle precinct.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government has declared a new Priority Development Area (PDA) around the Roma Street Cross River Rail station which encompasses the Brisbane Live precinct.

This means that a 32-hectare PDA will fast-track the development and delivery of the new underground Cross River Rail (CRR) station while also creating a specialised development scheme for the entire precinct.

Artist's impression of a concept Brisbane Live design showing new public square
Artist’s impression of a concept Brisbane Live design showing new public square

“The new Cross River Rail Roma Street station will be the city’s pivotal arrival point, linking passengers with the existing interstate and suburban rail, the busway station and proposed Brisbane Metro station,” Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said.

“Built around renewed heritage places, new public spaces, parkland, and potential major entertainment facilities, the location will become one of Brisbane’s key cultural and recreational precincts.

“There will be unique opportunities for urban development, economic stimulation and job creation. It will provide critical public transport connectivity between the precinct and the city centre and to the nearby neighbourhoods of Petrie Terrace and Spring Hill.”

Mr Dick said to ensure work on the new city inner station remains on track, an Interim Land Use Plan will be in place until the development scheme is finalised.

The Government is expected to complete the market sounding exercise by mid-2020, with a final decision being made on the winning company to construct and manage the arena by end of next year.

Brisbane Live key facts

  • Analysis confirms that a new, centrally located, entertainment arena meets the opportunities and needs of the Cross River Rail Roma Street Precinct
  • An arena at Roma Street will help to revitalise a currently underutilised western gateway to the city for thousands of residents, commuters and visitors.
  • An arena would provide a greater number and variety of entertainment and international sporting events, and improve Brisbane’s tourism potential.
  • It could attract up to $2.5 billion in real Gross Regional Product over 2026-2048.
  • At its peak, during construction, an arena could create up to 1060 FTE roles.
  • Once operational, an arena could result in net employment gain of 625 FTE roles per annum.
  • The activated arena and wider precinct could attract $90 million per annum in investment.
  • A new arena provides additional revenue stream opportunities such as naming rights and corporate box sponsorship.
  • An arena will provide better connectivity and safety for cyclists and pedestrians, travel time savings (compared to Brisbane Entertainment Centre) and enhanced public spaces for the community.
  • Further engagement with the industry will be required to assess individual precinct options for the Roma Street precinct, including the potential for an arena.