bléuscape design

Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves

To revitalise the Howard Smith Wharves site as a world-class river-front destination, Brisbane City Council invited the development industry to submit Requests for Proposals (RFP) in 2013.

The HSW Consortium, led by Adam Flaskas and Elisha Bickle, was selected as the preferred candidate to develop the site following the evaluation process by Council - announced in October 2014.

Howard Smith Wharves site, 3.43 hectares of the Brisbane River frontage, is to be transformed into a riverside precinct by the HSW Consortium. A mixture of commercial and community multi-purpose facilities will make the transformation. A few highlights of the proposed facilities include a new riverside parkland to compliment Southbank and a centre for commercial development.

The Consortium's vision of the Howard Smith Wharves is vibrant and sustainable. The revitalisation project will produce another Brisbane icon  following its completion. The precinct being culturally important, the project will inject much needed boost to reactivate and re-energise the area. For the public, central to Howard Smith Wharves will be a high-quality public realm. The central public area will celebrate the history of the Howard Smith Wharves and the value of this prime waterfront location. Residents, workers and visitors will be able to embrace and enjoy the precinct from this central public area.

Key features

(Details taken from the Brisbane City Council Website)

The hotel development and operation will be undertaken by Asian Pacific Group, however HSW Consortium will have overall responsibility of the entire site.

Key features of HSW Consortium's proposed design include:

  • a dining, retail and tourism centre utilising the existing heritage listed buildings
  • new public open spaces that may be used for markets and festivals
  • approximately 150 rooms in a 5 star boutique hotel  
  • underground car park for approximately 350 vehicles
  • parkland and public open spaces including lifts linking the site to the top of the cliffs
  • a 1500 square metre exhibition space

Artist impression of the Howard Smith Wharves

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About the project

HSW Consortium will also be responsible for the design and construction of the park and open space areas on the site. HSW Consortium has six months from now to submit a Development Application. Construction will not start until they have obtained development application. It is expected that a decision notice, approving the development will not be obtained until the second half of 2015. When the Development Application is submitted, there will be a public notification period when residents and the community can make a written submission to Council’s Development Assessment branch. HSW Consortium then has three years to develop the site.

A major feature of the HSW concept plan is that it is not extensively developed. Not only will 80% of the precinct be dedicated to open public space, but the 1500m2 exhibition space in the centre of the site is on a single level allowing most of the cliffs to be viewed from the river.

The New Farm Riverwalk project was opened to the public on 21 September 2014. The existing shared cyclist and pedestrian pathway between Boundary Street, the city and the Riverwalk at New Farm will remain open during the works.

Restoration projects

Brisbane City Council has undertaken a series of restoration works at the Howard Smith Wharves site, the last remaining wharf site in Brisbane’s city centre. 

Wharf rehabilitation

Council completed construction of the new 170 metre long timber wharf beneath Story Bridge in March 2013. The wharf restoration included structural repairs which make the area safe for public access. The restoration captures the site's history as a working wharf.

Heritage building repairs

Minor repair works to two heritage buildings were completed in February 2011. The remaining wharf buildings are rare evidence of the pre-1940s Port of Brisbane. They have been vacant and derelict for more than 20 years.

The repairs restored the structural integrity of the buildings to prevent further damage.

Cliff stabilisation

The cliffs surrounding the Howard Smith Wharves site have undergone stabilisation to ensure the safety of the public during and after the restoration. It will also protect the five World War II air raid shelters which have been damaged over the years by falling rocks. Stabilisation works were completed in 2010.

Source: Brisbane City Council - Building and Planning



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