Just weeks after plans were lodged by Hayes Anderson Lynch Architects (HAL) for the redevelopment of the fire-damaged Broadway Hotel in Brisbane, council has already received eight objections to the proposed $260-million development.

Majella Property Developments proposes to build a 27-storey residential tower at the damaged hotel’s site in Woolloongabba. The heritage-listed property that was built in 1889-90 was damaged in a big fire in 2010, leading to its closure.

Though the public comment period is yet to open, Brisbane City Council has received eight submissions objecting to the proposal. The council had indicated their lack of support to certain aspects of the development during pre-lodgement meetings on 16 January and 9 February, 2015. In addition to objecting to the proposed 25 storeys, the council also questioned the extent of demolition, including the removal of a World War II air raid shelter on the site.

However, the developer responded by increasing the height of the building by an additional two storeys, to 27 storeys at the time of lodging the application. The proposal now includes 27 storeys and five levels of basement car parking; 262 units including 68 one bedroom, 100 two bedroom, 68 three bedroom and 26 four bedroom units; 33 commercial tenancies over level one, two and three; 388 car parking spaces, including 40 visitor and 53 commercial; and 133 bicycle parks.

Woolloongabba-based architecture design studio Beatov informed the council on March 30 that the concerns raised at the pre-lodgement meetings had not been resolved or addressed in the application. According to Beatov’s submission to the council, the acceptable solution for this site as per City Plan 2014 was 20 storeys. It was also made clear to the developer at each pre-lodgement meeting that demolition of significant fabric was not supported.

Advising the council to challenge the developer to improve all aspects of the scheme, Beatov underlined the importance of the conservation of the heritage building, parts of which the developer sought permission to demolish. The design studio also red-flagged the proposed plans as they raised many alarm bells from a conservation heritage point of view.

The Broadway Hotel will be retained as part of the development. Photography by Matt Jensen

Submissions from local residents also revealed concerns about the building height, preservation of heritage, traffic congestion, bulk of the building, and lack of sub-tropical and mature plants.

In his response to the objections, Majella Group CEO Sebastian Monsour said they would spend a considerable sum of money in restoring the historic Broadway Hotel with no demolition to be carried out on the original structure.

Monsour said they have been working with a heritage architect, who has been involved with all these design decisions. While the interior of the hotel required substantial construction work to make it safe and usable, the air raid shelter had extensive concrete rot and could not be salvaged.

About the increase in the building’s height, Monsour explained that the council would resume some of the land outlined, which necessitated the increase in height to offset the loss of land.

According to a council spokesman, the application for the Broadway Hotel was still in its early stages. The council will scrutinise all aspects of the project in accordance with the State Government's Sustainable Planning Act; any repairs or alterations to the heritage-listed property will also require directions from the State Government.