Businesses given notice as Mercedes Benz moves on Brisbane waterfrontThe proposed Autohaus design for the Breakfast Creek Wharf site. Photo: Cottee Parker Architects

Businesses given notice as Mercedes Benz moves on Brisbane waterfront

Brisbane will become the first city in Australia to host a Mercedes Benz Autohaus Centre in a move set to revive the old Breakfast Creek Wharf site – but the announcement has not been without controversy.

The design for the site, in the inner-city suburb of Newstead, consists of a five-storey structure similar to the company’s European centres and housing a dealership, museum, service centre, restaurant and cafes.

However, the development will replace existing facilities at Breakfast Creek Wharf, which were established more than 27 years ago. Existing businesses now have only a few months to move out.

The project, designed by Cottee Parker Architects and managed by Urbis, is now before Brisbane City Council’s planning department.

The development application for Autohaus is currently before Brisbane City Council. Photo: Cottee Parker Architecture The development application for Autohaus is currently before Brisbane City Council. Photo: Cottee Parker Architects

It has been commissioned by Lei Shing Hong (LSH Group) – the company behind the purchase of the Mercedes dealership and attached development site in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley last year – via a wholly owned subsidiary, Star Auto Properties (Newstead) Pty. Ltd.

Lei Shing Hong purchased the site earlier this year for $26 million – almost four times its previous purchase price recorded in 2012.

The design would maintain a public access element, said Cottee Parker director Kim Vojacek, who acknowledged the challenges presented by the waterfront site.

“The Autohaus project presented an interesting set of challenges because of the unique precinct at Breakfast Creek which includes the boardwalk and its adjacent street network,” he said.

Breakfast Creek Wharf, Brisbane. Photo: David Millar Breakfast Creek Wharf, Brisbane. Photo: David Millar

He indicated the firm’s vision for the project to become a catalyst for urban regeneration in the area.

“We have created a striking landmark development which is prominent and highly visible,” Mr Vojacek said.

“The highly transparent facades provide a strong visual connection between the Autohaus and the surrounding precinct – on open and engaging facility.

“The streetscape interface of active facades, awnings, hard and soft landscaping, re-established and defines the public realm in and around the development.  The aim is for this facility to become a catalyst and a benchmark for the future urban renewal of the precinct”.

The construction of Australia's first Autohaus will require the destruction of the existing facilities at Breakfast Creek Wharf. Photo: Cottee Parker Architecture The construction of Australia’s first Autohaus will require the destruction of the existing facilities at Breakfast Creek Wharf. Photo: Cottee Parker Architects

Businesses on the Breakfast Creek Wharf precinct have been given until the end of August to vacate the premises, with existing tenant Barry Kenman telling the Seven Network that not all tenants had been satisfied with the length of notice given.

“I do believe other tenants here have been a little bit put out by the fact that they’ve had to move at such a short notice,” Mr Kenman said.


Video: Seven News

Developer and current landlord BMI Group had purchased the site in 2012 with the intention of refurbishing the complex.

In an email to Commercial Real Estate, BMI Groups David Evans confirmed that Lei Shin Hong made an unsolicited offer for the site.

“We had undertaken a full refurbishment and had the occupancy rate up to 95 per cent,” Mr Evans said. “The property was not listed for sale when the approach was received from LSH Group who own multiple dealerships for Mercedes Benz.

“The complex had not been listed for sale but an option agreement was entered into with the LSH Group after an approach through CBRE.”

Tenants were first notified of the likely sale of the complex in spring last year, he said.

“We first notified all tenants that the complex was likely to be sold in the first half of October 2015,” Mr Evans said. “Regular updates have been provided and discussions have been happening with all tenants. Most of them were on short-term tenancy agreements expiring before the likely date for demolition works to commence.”

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