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Commercial Property in Brisbane: A summary of the city's fundamentals and key commercial areas

commercial property in brisbane

While it is difficult to give a full rundown of all areas of Brisbane, this summary looks at some of the key fundamentals which underpin the future potential of commercial property in Brisbane, as well as an overview of the most significant areas and markets across the city.

1.0 Brisbane’s fundamentals 

1.1 Economy


The continued internationalisation of the Brisbane economy, combined with a local pool of talent and a collaborative business culture, provides a strong, competitive environment for Brisbane’s economy to continue to outperform its neighbours. Brisbane’s progressive and far-sighted business and economic environment gives investors more confidence in their quest to optimise investment return. This confidence is built around Brisbane’s stable political environment, its proven and forecast population and economic growth, and ongoing public and private sector commitment to building a stronger economy and intellectual capital base.

Brisbane is a major hub for large resource and energy companies, a global hub for the mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, a significant centre for research and innovation, and the engine room of much of Queensland’s continued economic growth, with the local Brisbane economy predicted to grow to more than $217 billion by 2031. 

Brisbane’s economy is being underpinned by major projects like Queen’s Wharf, HS Wharf, TradeCoast, Cross River Rail, the second airport runway, Brisbane Live Entertainment Precincit and the Adani Coal Mine, with most of these projects driving the economy for at least several more years in their construction phase alone.

Despite the current global uncertainty, the Brisane/Queensland property markets look to be relatively well placed in terms of fundamentals, barring the high exposure of parts of the State to the troubled international tourism sector.

Compared to New South Wales and Victoria, Queensland is less exposed to foreign education in migration flows.

Brisbane’s residential housing market also had a more subdued run-in prior to the Covid-19 shock and have relatively tight supply/demand balance. The turnover of property sales in Brisbane rebounded strongly after the April / May lockdown and property sales through June and July were nearly 20% above the same period last year.

There are many reasons to remain confident in the long term future of Brisbane and South East Queensland. Liveability, affordability, scale and future economic prospects all suggest that Brisbane is a market that will continue to prosper, along with commercial property in Brisbane.

It’s true that once we come through the Coronavirus pandemic the city is likely to be one of the best performing property markets over the next few years. 

1.2 Demographics


The population of Greater Brisbane which encompasses the local government areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redcliffe and Moreton Bay is approximately 2,400,000. This is less than half the population of the larger cities – Sydney and Melbourne.

Queensland is set to become home to more than seven million people over the next 40 years with the vast majority of the population to be contained within the South East corner. 

Given its sub-tropical climate, the region is well known for its laidback lifestyle and enviable weather. Greater Brisbane also has far more affordable property than the southern cities of Melbourne and Sydney.

1.3 Brisbane’s Infrastructure


Economic growth in Queensland has accelerated in recent years with a multitude of major projects underway or within the pipeline as already mentioned, that stimulate job creation and keep the local economy moving. 

One of the biggest would have to be the addition of a second runway to the Brisbane Airport and you would hope so too, at a total cost of around $1.3billion.

The project is due for completion in 2020 and after 8 years in the making, will become Australia’s largest aviation construction project.

It has already provided hundreds of construction jobs and by 2035, it is expected to generate up to 8,000 new jobs and generate an additional $5 billion dollars to the Brisbane Economy.

1.4 Brisbane’s Population Growth


With a current population estimated at 2,400,000, with approximately 1.75% annual growth over the last 5 years. 

The population of Greater Brisbane is expected to continue to experience solid growth over the coming 10 years and beyond. 

commercial property in brisbane - retail - James Street

2.0 Commercial Property In Brisbane – Location Overview

2.1 Office Markets



Brisbane has the third largest CBD district in Australia following Sydney & Melbourne and it is by far the biggest office precinct in the Brisbane market. 

The CBD is still in the original settlement location in a curve of the river about 23 kilometres upstream from Moreton Bay.

The river acts as a natural divide with the city colloquially broken into two sections, namely “north of the river” and “south of the river”.

The majority of the properties within the CBD are institutionally owned with fewer numbers of generally smaller private owned buildings. 

B. Fringe City Areas


The inner ring surrounding the CBD also has a significant concentration of commercial office property with the prominent areas being:

Spring Hill – An older elevated area situated immediately north of the CBD which comprises a mix of smaller freestanding office buildings. The area has long been slated for greater rejuvenation and for significant increases in zoning and permitted building heights but to date this has yet to take place. As such, the majority of office accommodation within the Spring Hill precinct is older style buildings which lease at substantial discounts to those in the CBD itself, however significant building refurbishments (existing buildings) are being undertaken with more private ownership of these office buildings. 

Fortitude Valley – Situated to the North East of the Brisbane CBD, “the Valley” as it is otherwise known has traditionally been known as the grungy part of the city and is a melting pot of bars, clubs, restaurant, China Town as well a seedier area of adult clubs similar to Sydney’s Kings Cross. Like Spring Hill, the Valley has been designated as a redevelopment zone for quite some time and in recent years this has finally started to take place with some significant developments such as Gurners FV residential Towers and the redevelopment of the Fortitude Valley Metro (Train Station) spurring more activity. Specifically with regard to office developments, there are several large scale office developments that have come to the market in recent times with Mosaic’s The Eminence being the most recent. 

Newstead – Situated to the north/east of the Valley, Newstead and to a lesser extent its neighbour, Bowen Hills – have been a major redevelopment hotspot for the last 10 years with a steady stream of residential towers being developed throughout the area. Office developments have been fewer, however there are some notable buildings such as Gasworks (office component above the retail centre) and the adjoining BOQ Village (Bank of Queensland Village) which make up a sizeable office supply. Of current note is a 7,000 m2 speculative office development at 14 Stratton Street by Silverstone Developments. Otherwise, the remaining privately owned and sites dotted throughout the area mostly comprise a mix of smaller warehouse buildings representing the areas former days, and smaller freestanding office and retail buildings. 

Milton – To the West of the CBD and on the northern side of the Brisbane River is Milton which has witnessed a number of significant residential developments surrounding its train station, but otherwise the area is populated by slightly older Office buildings mostly orientated to Coronation Drive which runs along the Brisbane River. The larger office buildings are a mix of institutionally owned and private owned buildings and the remainder of the Milton area is characterised by a mix of smaller office, warehouse and retail buildings. 

South Brisbane – To the south west of the CBD and across the Brisbane river is South Brisbane. Adjoining the South Bank Parklands, South Brisbane’s Grey and Melbourne Streets comprise significant office developments which came online in the early 2000’s. Moving further from the CBD South Brisbane and its neighbouring West End have seen large amounts of development over the past 10 years akin to the Newstead area. The majority of this development has again been residential focused. The area still comprises a significant mix of older style office, warehouse and retail type buildings in amongst the development. 

C. West – Toowong/ Indooroopilly


Moving west of Milton are the hubs of Toowong and Indooroopilly which also comprise substantial office buildings particularly around Toowong Village (retail centre) and train Station, and Indooroopilly Shopping Centre & Train Station. 

D. South – Upper Mount Gravatt & Eight Mile Plains


At Approximately 12 kms south of the CBD is the area of Upper Mount Gravatt which acts as the major commercial hub of the south side of Brisbane. The area is characterised by a number of mostly small to medium and older style office buildings however there has been very little new buildings added in recent times. 

To the south of Upper Mount Gravatt is Eight Mile Plains which comprises a number of office parks most notably the Brisbane Technology Park, which over the past 15-20 years has grown substantially to house a large number of freestanding office buildings. The park’s have been popular and successful with their approach of decentralising office accommodation away from the CBD utilising cheaper land to realise these developments and being able to provide more car parking.

E. North – Chermside


The most significant hub on the north side of Brisbane is that of Chermside, and the area surround its major shopping centre. This area also comprises some office buildings. 

commercial property in brisbane - office

2.2. Retail Markets



The Brisbane CBD is a major retail hub with the Queen Street Mall being the centre of this activity. The three major properties within this precinct are the Myer Centre, Queens Plaza and the Wintergarden which are all institutionally owned. Along Queen Street there are a number of smaller buildings many of which are heritage / character buildings and privately owned. 

Retail properties spill into the adjacent streets of Elizbeth Street, Adelaide Street and Edward Street before becoming more specifically office buildings moving further from the Queen Street centre of the CBD.

B. Major regional & sub regional centres 


There are several major regional retail centres being Indooroopilly Shopping Centre (West), Chermside (north), North Lakes (north), Garden City (south) and Carindale (south-east). In the sub-regional centre category there are several spanning throughout wider Brisbane including Toombul, Stafford, Sunnybank to name a few. These regional and sub-regional centres are typically surrounded by ancillary retail and other commercial uses. 

C. Strip retail locations 


Within the inner ring of Brisbane City there are a number of retail strip shopping areas that have gone through ups and downs in popularity over the years and have had to deal with changes in tastes, trends and therefore popularity. These notable locations are:

James Street – An upmarket area in the crossroads of Newstead, New Farm and the Valley – James Street is a high end destination for retail and restaurants including the notable recent hotel & retail development – The Calile Hotel.

West End – Boundary Street at West End has been an eclectic and alternative location loved by many. Recent years of significant change and development in the wider West End/South Brisbane area have seen a clash between those for and against development. Through this time the strip has been challenged by turnover of restaurants/retailers and reduced rents. 

Paddington, Rosalie and Park Road (Milton) – These areas of and to the north of Milton have at certain times been hugely popular and successful retail/ restaurant locations, however this has changed over recent years as buildings have aged and consumer tastes have changed.

Stones Corner – To the South of Woolloongabba Stones Corner has long been touted as the next Brisbane area to undergo significant gentrification however that seems to be a little while off yet. Like some of the other strip locations, this area is characterised by older style retail stores and has seen significant turnover of businesses and vacancy. 

Racecourse Road, Ascot – Once the premier restaurant and retail strip of one of Brisbane’s most wealthy areas, Racecourse Road has had trouble with turnover of businesses over the last years like many of these other areas mentioned. 

Oxford Street, Bulimba – The heart of the “village” that is Bulimba has also seen its ups and downs over the years.

D. Suburban & Neighbourhood convenience centres


Dotted throughout wider Brisbane there are many suburban/neighbour retail centres of varying quality. Those that trade well and that continue to attract tenants are well maintained and modernised when required. 

2.3. Industrial Markets

Brisbane has a number of key industrial precincts:

A. Trade Coast 


The Trade Coast industrial precinct is the second largest business precinct in Brisbane following the CBD. The Trade Coast area was formed circa 2000 in an effort to commercialise significant and well located unused land surround the Brisbane area and the Port of Brisbane. The area targets several key industry sectors and has quickly grown as one of the most significant business areas of the city. 

B. South 


The southern industrial pocket located just 11 km south of the CBD, comprises the suburbs of Acacia Ridge, Archerfield, Coopers Plains, Salisbury and Rocklea. This is an older traditional industrial location which has long been popular due to its accessibility and surrounding amenity, however is beginning to lose favour to some of the more modern and emerging industrial areas.

C. West Corridor/Ipswich


Brisbane’s Western Corridor comprises the regionally significant industrial area in Brisbane’s south-west incorporating Carole Park, Darra, Sumner, Wacol and Richlands. This area extending out to Ipswich has seen substantial industrial development with many new industrial estates utilising cheaper land creating modern A grade facilities suited to large industrial users. The area also benefits from fantastic road infrastructure and networks, and booming population growth in surrounding areas. It has become a major manufacturing hub. Moving further west into the Ipsiwch region, with a large percentage of the available/developable industrial land in South East Queensland, this region is experiencing growth across many industries including aerospace, manufacturing, food processing, and transport. Ipswich is home to Australia’s largest master-planned industrial development, Citiswich.

D. Logan Motorway Corridor


One of the fastest growing industrial precincts – the Logan Motorway Corridor is another region of new industrial land development. The area is home to many large industrial users in major facilities. 

The area consists of Crestmead, Marsden, Browns Plains, Meadowbrook, Berrinba, Loganlea, Loganholme, Heathwood and Larapinta.

E. North


A traditional industrial area similar to the south industrial pocket comprises mostly older style industrial buildings ranging from small to larger facilities. 

The area consits of Banyo, Geebung, Northgate, Virginia, Zillmere and Brendale.

There area is traditionally quote tightly held with few properties for sale. 

F. Northern Growth Corridor


Suburbs of North lakes, Narangba, Burpengary & Deception Bay

Brisbane’s Northern Growth Corridor is home to a large and rapidly-growing resident population of about 390,000 in Brisbane’s neighbouring Moreton Bay Region, which is expected to grow to about 622,000 by 2031. 

The area has an established and growing economy with supporting transport infrastructure, services to transport, and wholesale trade, and suppliers to support the growth of industries in manufacturing, construction and related sectors.

The Northern Growth Corridor is close to major infrastructure such as Brisbane Airport and the Port of Brisbane and a six-lane highway. Freight and passenger rail also traverses the area. The availability and affordability of commercial and industrial land in the Northern Growth Corridor will continue to create opportunities for businesses wanting to invest in a base from which to service markets in South East Queensland and beyond.

commercial property in brisbane - industrial

We hope this post has provided you with a helpful overview of the many parts that make up commercial property in Brisbane.

Read more about what we do as commercial buyers agents brisbane here.