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Brisbane City Council approves Buranda student towers

Brisbane City Council has approved its sixth – and largest – student accommodation development since it introduced incentives in February.

Buranda Student Towers

The Singaporean-financed two-tower development, backed by Wee Hur Holdings, would be built at Buranda adjacent to vital public transport links.

The so-called transport-oriented development would feature 1608 student accommodation rooms, seven commercial tenancies, 804 bicycle spaces, 402 parking spaces and a large student common area.

Wee Hur chairman Goh Yeow Lian said his company was drawn to Brisbane by what he saw as a hole in the local market.

"After considering multiple approaches and doing in-depth market studies, we discovered that at the current moment, Brisbane city is facing a supply shortage for student beds," Mr Goh said.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said there had been 19 development applications for student accommodation, which would add 6500 beds, since the council started offering discounts in infrastructure charges.

"What we have in Australia right now is a market for this accommodation and the universities and other education providers are saying to this council that there is an underlying demand for around 15,000 beds in our city," he said.

"So this is well and truly going towards absorbing some of that market demand."

Cr Quirk said students offered a lot to Brisbane, both now and into the future.

"These young people are the business, trade and investment leaders of the future in their respective countries," he said.

"If they leave Australia and in our case Brisbane with some of it in their heart, when they come to making those trade and investment decisions, that will stand our people in good stead in the future."

The benefits went beyond potential trading links, Cr Quirk said.

"The thing we have to understand about international students in our city is these are great kids," he said.

"There's 75,000 of them in Brisbane right now and they add a vibrancy to our city.

"Most of them don't have cars and they're here to do two things – to get a great education that the Australian market offers and, secondly, to undertake a cultural experience.

"That's also the desire of their parents."

Cr Quirk said the international education sector was worth $3.8 billion to Brisbane's economy and that would only increase with a national policy to double the number of international students in Australia over the next decade.

"That's good policy, because not only does it create full-time jobs for Australian citizens now, but also we know the relationships that develop out of international education.

Wednesday's announcement came exactly three months after Student One announced two major CBD developments at the intersection of Adelaide and Wharf streets.

Those developments included a new, 41-storey tower and the repurposing of the former Boeing building.

Author: Cameron Atfield

Published: October 21, 2015 - 7:08PM

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