Shock Recommendation: Victoria Park Stadium Could Replace Gabba for 2032 Olympics after Review

Brisbane 2032 Olympics Review Brisbane Bold 2032 by Archipelago
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In a ground-breaking recommendation, a 60-day 2032 Olympics review led by former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk proposes the construction of a state-of-the-art stadium at Victoria Park in inner-Brisbane, shunning the controversial Gabba rebuild plan. The envisioned “world class” stadium, estimated to cost between $3 billion and $3.4 billion, could accommodate up to 55,000 spectators, serving as the centrepiece for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.

The comprehensive review also advocates for the development of a new indoor arena, costing approximately $2.5 billion, at Roma Street Parkland, adjacent to the Normanby fiveways area. This recommendation dismisses the suggestion by International Olympics Committee vice-president John Coates to utilize the Nathan site for athletics events, citing concerns over cost-effectiveness and legacy considerations. The 60-day Olympic Games’ venue review led by Graham Quirk has been delivered to the state government, comprising 90 findings and recommendations.

Furthermore, the review unveils the true financial implications of the Gabba redevelopment, estimating potential costs of up to $3.4 billion, including displacement expenses for AFL and cricket fixtures, significantly higher than previously indicated by the State Government.

Woolloongabba Olympics Precinct
^Original Woolloongabba Olympics Precinct Concept with the Gabba Stadium the Centrepiece (Image: QLD State Government)

The finalized report, submitted to State Development Minister Grace Grace on Friday, will undergo deliberation by State Cabinet on Monday. Notably, the review focused exclusively on sports venues and did not assess athlete villages or other infrastructure projects.

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After evaluating over 900 public submissions, inspecting 28 proposed venue sites, and engaging with 130 stakeholders, the review panel concluded that a new stadium at Victoria Park offers the optimal solution for the Games and the city. It is projected to meet international standards, replacing the aging Gabba while remaining within the allocated $7 billion budget set by state and federal authorities.

It was only a week ago that Architectural firm Archipelago had made waves with its audacious proposal for a monumental Olympic Park-inspired precinct at Victoria Park in Brisbane, aptly dubbed “Brisbane Bold 2032”. The unveiling of this visionary concept came at a pivotal moment, coinciding with the completion and presentation of the 60-day 2032 Olympics review. The timing of this release is bound to capture attention, as it now emerges as the focal point of the recently concluded review. The convergence of these events is certain to raises eyebrows, as stakeholders eagerly await further insights from the review findings.

“The construction of a stadium on an inner-city greenfield site allows a smooth transition with no displacement for cricket and AFL while a new stadium is constructed,” the report emphasizes.

^Archipelago’s Vision for the Victoria Park Redevelopment labelled “Brisbane Bold 2032”, has Emerged from Quirk's 2032 Olympics Review (Image Archipelago)
^Archipelago’s Vision for the Victoria Park Redevelopment labelled “Brisbane Bold 2032”, has Emerged from Quirk’s 2032 Olympics Review (Image Archipelago)
Former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has put forward his 60-day Review and 2032 Olympics Recommendation
^Former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has put forward a 60-day Review and 2032 Olympics Recommendation.

Reality Check: Gabba Stadium’s Deterioration Goes Beyond Public Perception

Despite positive public perception of the Gabba stadium’s spectator experience, findings from the review indicate a stark contrast with reality.

Key points from the review highlight the Gabba’s aging infrastructure, with the stadium deemed unfit for purpose and falling short of modern standards compared to other oval stadiums across Australia. Accessibility issues, operational inefficiencies, and poor connectivity further exacerbate its shortcomings, hindering the stadium’s ability to compete with counterparts in other cities and attract new events.

^The Gabba Stadium in Brisbane has been labelled ‘Second rate’, ‘ageing’ and ‘tired’ as part of the 2032 Olympics review
^The Gabba Stadium in Brisbane has been labelled ‘Second rate’, ‘ageing’ and ‘tired’ as part of the 2032 Olympics review

Moreover, the Gabba’s constrained footprint, limited capacity for expansion, and estimated high costs for partial or full rebuilds present formidable challenges for its future development. The review recommends maintaining the Gabba to a minimum standard until a new stadium can be constructed at an alternative location, allowing for the site’s repurposing.

In light of findings, the 2032 Olympics review advises against utilizing QSAC Stadium for Olympic and Paralympic Games events, proposing instead the exploration of a new stadium at Victoria Park as a priority.

Additionally, the review contemplates alternative options, such as upgrading the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre at Mount Gravatt and extending the operational life of the Gabba. However, the recommendation favours the establishment of a new stadium at a different location, with plans to maintain the Gabba to a minimum standard until its replacement is operational.

Strategic Shift: Brisbane Live Arena Repositioned 500m North for Enhanced Viability

Among other findings, the 2032 Olympics review advises against proceeding with the Brisbane Arena at the Roma Street over-rail site, proposing its construction on an alternative development site north of the Roma Street Parklands.

The proposed Brisbane Live Arena hopes to be a cornerstone of the city’s Olympic infrastructure, offering lasting benefits for generations to come, beyond the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics. However, the review has highlighted significant hurdles associated with its initial location plans at the Roma Street over-rail site.

“While the Roma Street over-rail site is viewed as a superior site, the development of the joint business case found that there are significant program and cost risks associated with developing the Brisbane Arena at this site.” The report stated.

^The New Proposed Location for the Brisbane Live Arena in the Roma Street Parklands is part of the 2032 Olympics review.
^The New Proposed Location for the Brisbane Live Arena in the Roma Street Parklands is part of the 2032 Olympics review.
^Original Architectural Concept for the Brisbane Live Arena (Image: QLD State Government)
^Original Architectural Concept for the Brisbane Live Arena (Image: QLD State Government)

The findings reveal considerable program and cost risks, with estimated construction expenses surpassing $4 billion. Additionally, the project could disrupt rail services, requiring extensive bus replacements and imposing strains on transportation networks.

Concerns extend to the tight construction timeline, leaving little room for unforeseen delays in meeting the proposed completion date by the end of 2031. In response, the review panel has identified an alternative site north of the Roma Street Parklands as a more feasible option for the arena’s development.

Recommendations urge a redirection of the project to this new location, emphasizing the need for swift progression to the next stage of validation. Furthermore, suggestions underscore the importance of addressing connectivity and parking concerns to ensure the arena meets the necessary operational standards.

The initiative to commission this independent review was announced by Premier Steven Miles in January, aiming to ensure a more cost-effective approach to venue infrastructure for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Undoubtedly, this 2032 Olympics review is poised to ignite more debate and community dialogue regarding the construction of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. It not only underscores the challenges faced by the state government in infrastructure investment but also accentuates the tension between optimal planning, costs, and future community aspirations and benefits. As this intricate process unfolds, Brisbane anxiously anticipates Premier Steven Miles’ response to these recommendations, eager to see how they will shape the city’s future.

Note: The information presented in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, financial, or professional advice. While we make every effort to fact-check and verify the information presented, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Readers are encouraged to independently verify any information they find on our website and to consult with relevant professionals before making any decisions based on the information presented. The Australian Development Review does not own the rights to the information included within this article, and furthermore, there is no infringement intended from the included text and images within.


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