Architecture and Renovation, Brisbane's rental market, Brisbane's sales market

Inner city living: a tall story

Aurora TowerThis week is the first birthday of Brisbane’s tallest building, the 69 storey Aurora Tower, and its completion marked the coming of ‘super-towers’ to our city. Until the late 1980’s our tallest residential building was The Gardens in Alice Street at a neck-breaking 17 storeys! The past two decades saw apartments push through 20 storeys (Dockside), 30 (Quay West) and 40 (Admiralty Towers 2) but Aurora’s arrival has yet again changed residents’ expectations of inner city living.

At 219 metres (718 feet) Aurora’s top floor is the same height as Mt Coot-tha’s lookout, and close to the cruising altitude of a hot-air balloon. With its 5 elevators travelling at more than 3 metres per second a journey to the top takes just over one minute. Higher level views extend from the Sunshine Coast’s Glasshouse Mountains through to the northern end of the Gold Coast, and at night to the glow of Toowoomba’s lights in the west. More than 1000 residents now call Aurora home, while on last year’s Riverfire night it’s estimated there were more than 6000 people in the tower for a close-up of the fireworks – a similar population to the town of Gatton!

Not surprisingly many of the 478 apartments are occupied by international visitors. From Arizona to Zambia, Qatar, China and Brazil, this “suburb on a stick” is a melting pot of cultures. With amenities like a 30m pool, large gym and a 16 seat theatrette Aurora has earned its prestige address, and rents in the building now average over $500 per week. The 4 bedroom penthouse recently rented at $1,300. Perhaps the only occupants not thrilled with the tower’s heights are the 4 legged companions. Animals are permitted but some felines have out-used all nine lives in attempting leaps from apartment balconies….

Of course Aurora’s sky-topping status won’t last, with the 80 storey Vision tower now under construction in Mary Street. With Council dropping its limit on building heights plans are already being tossed around for Brisbane apartment towers over 300 metres (1000 feet). The Gold Coast’s Q1 is Australia’s tallest building at 323 metres (the same height as the Eiffel Tower), while Taiwan’s “Taipei 101” has the world’s highest man-made point at a breath-taking 508 metres. Not to be outdone of course the UAE’s “Burj Dubai” is under construction and proposed to top 700 metres! Due for completion next year its developers are keeping the final height a secret, but there’ll be a reported 35,000 residents living in the 160 storey tower.

Anyone remember when City Hall was Brisbane’s tallest building?!