Australia’s largest greenfield CBD project secures a $2.5 billion commitment

Maroochydore City Centre’s shovel ready CBD redevelopment is set for acceleration under a new development agreement with one of Australia’s leading private property groups.

The landmark agreement between Sunshine Coast Council, SunCentral Maroochydore Pty Ltd and Walker Corporation will see Walker Corporation invest $2.5 billion into the project.

The CBD development will deliver about 160,000 square metres of commercial and retail space and 4,000 residential apartments over the next 15 to 20 years.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said this was an historic agreement for the region.

“Walker Corporation has a record in delivering projects with local and state governments,” he said.

“Walker Corporation brings to the project significant resources, capital and long-term connections and partnerships with major blue-chip companies.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the agreement set new standards in the levels of financial, social and business benefit for our region.

The agreement with Walker Corporation will accelerate investment in the 53-hectare priority development area in the heart of Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The Council will retain ownership of the land until Walker Corporation delivers the buildings and infrastructure.

Under the development agreement, Walker Corporation has exclusive rights to market and develop most of the remaining land consistent with the delivery of the city centre vision.

As the project is delivered, the council will receive civic assets such as parks, walkways and The Corso, which will relieve council of the obligation to fund and deliver this infrastructure.

With the development agreement in place, it is forecast that Council will now break even on the project in 2035, approximately ten years earlier than originally projected, and ultimately achieve for ratepayers an overall profit of approximately $41 million.

Walker Corporation’s investment in the 53-hectare Priority Development Area will commence immediately, with the project expected to create over 15,000 jobs over the life of the project.

The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s fastest-developing economies, which has historically grown each year at rates well above national averages, and is expected to expand from $17 billion to $33 billion by 2033.

Mayor Jamieson said the entire Sunshine Coast region wins from this agreement due to the jobs that would be generated by this long-term project and the services and facilities that would become available for the region as the city centre is developed.

“The Maroochydore city centre will be instrumental in building and strengthening the region, providing a mix of residential, commercial, retail, civic and community uses in order to develop a thriving and vibrant business district and city centre, enhancing Maroochydore’s existing business offering and strengthening our regional economy,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Mayor Jamieson said the development of this agreement is consistent with Council’s approach to other region-shaping projects – such as the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion and the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Cable Network.

“Council had the foresight to look to the future, to take on the early risk with these projects and do the preparatory work needed to give confidence to highly experienced and respected commercial investors, who bring their capital and expertise to the table to enable the projects to reach their potential,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Walker Corporation Executive Chairman Lang Walker said he was excited to work with a Council that had such a bold vision and is determined to create more opportunities for their communities.

“The Council’s vision for Maroochydore’s City Centre was such an important catalyst for this project,” he said.

“The Council recognised the need to think big and plan for the future and they have done a huge amount of work to get the project shovel ready.

“I am thrilled we are able to contribute by bringing 50 years of place-making excellence to the project.

“Maroochydore City Centre is going to transform the region into one of the most advanced economies in Australia.

“The City Centre will be supported by the infrastructure projects in the region, including the airport expansion, submarine broadband cable and public transport infrastructure.

“These investments in Maroochydore will create jobs into the future and give people an option to work closer to their homes.

“When the project is finished it will be one of the most commercially competitive regional cities in Australia.”

SunCentral Pty Ltd Board Chairman Dr Doug McTaggart said he was pleased to have such an experienced Australian-owned commercial developer and building owner such as Walker Corporation involved in the project.

“Following the rigorous assessment and review of the Expressions of Interest submissions, it was clear that Walker Corporation had the requisite capabilities to work with Council and SunCentral on the delivery of the Maroochydore city centre project,” Dr McTaggart said.

“To secure a large tier one development firm with broad capabilities and a very strong balance sheet, along with experience working in conjunction with all levels of government, is a great benefit for the Sunshine Coast region.”

Additional information for the media

Walker Corporation

Walker Corporation is one of Australia’s leading and largest private property groups with a project pipeline of almost $30 billion of work to complete in the next 15 years.

Walker Corporation and its delivery partners will deliver 40,000 lots across many communities, 12 commercial towers, 25,000 dwellings in Malaysia and 6,000 apartments in Australia alone.

Walker Corporation has already delivered 250,000 square metres of premium commercial office space in Melbourne’s CBD with Development Victoria. The $3 billion development is now home to 25,000 workers and some of Australia’s major blue-chip companies, including Commonwealth Bank, Australian Tax Office, Transurban, Link and KPMG.

In Western Sydney Walker Corporation Parramatta Square project is quickly reshaping the CBD. The $3.2 billion redevelopment of the City Centre is being delivered in conjunction with the City of Parramatta is on track to make it Sydney’s second largest city.

Parramatta Square is one of the largest urban renewal projects underway in Australia.

The three-hectare city precinct is revitalising Parramatta’s CBD with 290,000 square metres of new premium grade office and retail space located around a new 9,000 square metre public square. When it is finished, Parramatta Square will be home to 25,000 workers.

Walker Corporation is delivering a $400 million vertical CBD campus in South West Sydney for Western Sydney University. The campus will have capacity for 10,000 students and 1,000 staff. This is on top of Walker Corporation’s significant investments in Queensland. The Maroochydore City Centre project will expand Walker’s Brisbane and Gold Coast offices to the Sunshine Coast.

In the past two decades, Walker Corporation has transformed places like the Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo in Sydney, The Broadway Shopping Centre in Sydney, Hope Island on the Gold Coast, Rhodes Waterside in Sydney, and King Street Wharf in Sydney.

Background

 

  • The vision for the Maroochydore City Centre represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to establish a new capital city for the Sunshine Coast.
  • It is the largest greenfield CBD development in Australia.
  • On 27 January 2012, Sunshine Coast Council acquired 53 hectares of land in Maroochydore, this being the site formerly known as the Horton Park Golf Course.

 

  • The acquisition was undertaken to create a new city centre for the Sunshine Coast and reinforce Maroochydore as the Principal Regional Activity Centre for the region.

 

  • This site and an adjoining site (which at that time was owned by the Queensland Government) was declared a Priority Development Area (PDA) under the Economic Development Act 2012 on 19 July 2013.

 

  • On 11 December 2014, Council resolved to establish a company under the Corporations Act 2001, to oversee the development of Council’s landholdings in the Maroochydore PDA.

 

  • SunCentral Maroochydore Pty Ltd (SunCentral) was established by Council in January 2015 to manage the delivery of the project.

 

  • In 2016, civil construction works started.

 

  • SunCentral released to market an Invitation for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Balance Land in May 2019.

 

  • On 10 August 2019, Maroochydore City Centre People’s Day was held to welcome the community into the first stage of the development.

 

  • The EOI submissions closed at the end of August 2019. Submissions were received from local, national and international interests and have been evaluated since that time

 

  • Maroochydore City Centre Development Agreement was executed on 18 November 2020.
  • The competitive expression of interest process, which ultimately awarded Walker Corporation the development rights, strictly adhered to the highest standards of procurement, probity and accountability. It was monitored and signed off by legal and independent probity advisors at each stage, with Council and SunCentral engaging their own probity advisors to maximise the integrity of the process.
  • The agreement with Walker Corporation will accelerate investment in the 53-hectare priority development area in the heart of Maroochydore.

 

  • Walker Corporation is responsible for funding and delivery of the majority of future civil works, commercial and retail buildings, residential apartments and the majority of the remaining infrastructure on the site.

 

  • As the project is delivered the Council will receive civic assets such as parks, walkways and The Corso from Walker Corporation.

Council obligations

Council has retained several infrastructure obligations. These include:

  • Multi deck public carpark and/or interim at-grade car parks – which in themselves, will generate a commercial return to ratepayers;
  • Some road upgrades outside the Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area;
  • Automated Waste Collection System infrastructure funding and management;
  • Sunshine Coast Exhibition and Convention Facility – noting that it has always been Council’s intention that the capital cost of this facility, if it proceeds, will need to be largely funded by the State and Federal governments.
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