The Village at Wellard
Western Australia | Urban
In 2003, the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association (RNA) Council initiated a project to achieve two goals. Firstly, to guarantee the annual Ekka (agricultural show of Queensland) would remain at the Brisbane Showgrounds where it was first held in 1876, and secondly, to ensure the long-term financial viability of the RNA. Seven years later, this vision was realised for a mixed-use destination with the approval of the Brisbane Showgrounds Master Plan in November 2010 by the Urban Land Development Authority. This approval paved the way for construction to begin in April 2011, with Lendlease selected as the preferred development partner.
Stage one of the 15-year regeneration project was complete in 2013 with the opening of the Royal International Convention Centre, and the adjoining Plaza and Porte-Cochere. To complement these community facilities, the RNA and Lendlease unveiled stage two of the project in 2014.
This has seen the construction and completion of The Green residential apartments, Rydges Hotel and commercial tower Kingsgate and commencement on The Yards residential apartments construction. Stage two also included the development of the King Street precinct as a local destination, and the progressive opening of food and retail outlets, which is ongoing. Stage three of the project commenced in August 2016, with construction beginning on retail concept Kings Coop.
The entire public realm of the Brisbane Showgrounds has been curated to ensure the preservation of the sites heritage and establishment of a sense of place at the destination. Through the appointment of independent curator John Waldron, the original rural values and history of the site remains visible through buildings and behaviours embedded in the urban fabric of the neighbourhood.
These include story-telling/timelines in tree grates, the repurposing of wood and weatherboard in the retail spaces and the extra wide boulevard for alfresco dining, all of which has reimagined the aesthetic of public open space at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
Furthermore, the completion of the efficient Airport Link and Northern Busway, extensive bike and walk paths, as well as other planned transport infrastructure projects, ensures the Brisbane Showgrounds has an accessible and connected movement network, providing convenient travel to and from the destination for the community.