14 May 2013

1 William Street tower plan revealed

Brisbane City Council has recommended the approval of a giant 45-storey office tower at 1 William Street, that will become home to 7600 public servants and other staff by late 2016.
This is Brisbane’s first detailed look at the plans for the $653 million, splayed-roof building.

The plans lodged with the Brisbane City Council’s Neighbourhood Planning committee on Tuesday morning show a landscaped, winding botanical walk on the ground floor, a top-floor conference facility, a 12 metre-high entrance foyer, and a media centre for journalists.

The ground floor plan, shaped like a flattened oval, is surrounded by gardens on the ground floor and includes a heavily-vegetated “civic space” on the Brisbane River side of the building.

Already the council has noted that it would need to change inner-city buses to allow the thousands of public servants using the building to get to a train station.

Of the 75,000 square metres of office space, 60,000 is set aside for public servants.

However committee chair Cr Amanda Cooper said the Cross River Rail project – Brisbane’s proposed underground rail line – included an underground station near the site.

The plan includes “pods” for 10 retail tenants on the ground floor, which planners this morning said would “activate” the street area at the Brisbane River end of Margaret Street.

The major public entry to the building would be from the main foyer opposite the William and Margaret streets intersection.

The 6778 square metre site – which was covered by about a metre of water during the January 2011 flood – is bounded by the Riverside Expressway off ramp to Margaret Street, William Street, Gardens Point Road and Alice Street.

The Cbus development also includes 318 car spaces – fewer than the maximum 480 allowed – but 600 bike spaces, more than three times what would normally be provided.

There are three basement level car parks and the main access is from Gardens Point Road.

The basements are protected by a bund wall, set at 5.5 metres, which is 30 centimetres higher than the 5.2 metre January 2011 flood and can drain if power is lost to the site.

There are also 60 shower cubicles in the lower areas of the proposed building, which includes a cycling centre similar, but not the same, as the King George Square cycling centre.

Local councillor Vicki Howard said the plans were fresh and exciting and praised the inclusion of a bike centre.

“The space has been vacant for a long, long time and it is now going to be activated,” Cr Howard said.

“It is exciting, a very exciting day.”

However, Labor councillors Helen Abrahams and Shayne Sutton questioned how cyclists would get from the Bicentennial Bikeway, which stretches from Coronation Drive to the Queensland University of Technology, to the building.

Cr Abrahams asked for the proposal to be deferred for a week so extra advice from cycling groups could be gathered, but her request was defeated.

Cr Shayne Sutton asked what would happen to the existing bus wait zones along William Street – where the council’s buses wait before their journeys start – during and after construction.

Cr Geraldine Knapp had already suggested that bus routes needed to be changed to cater for the large number of public servants in the bottom end of the city.

“We certainly need to look at the number of buses that do need to come up George Street to get to the stations,” Cr Knapp said.

Cr Cooper said both issues could be resolved by the council’s planning and public transport staff.

The plan comes before the full Brisbane City Council next Tuesday for final approval.

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