One of the best pieces of recent news has been the confirmation of Brisbane as the 2032 Olympic Games host city. Related economic spinoffs will be many, everything from business and tourism to infrastructure and housing forecast for expansion, providing significant fuel for commercial real estate across South-East Queensland (SEQ).

Venues and infrastructure will be split across three main hubs, Brisbane (21 venues), Gold Coast (7 venues) to the city’s south and Sunshine Coast (4 venues) to Brisbane’s north. The Gabba – as the Brisbane Cricket Ground is commonly known due to its location in the suburb of Woolloongabba - will be the central Olympic stadium and as such is slated for an $1 billion capacity-boosting rebuild and upgrade.

As for the remaining venues, around 85 per cent include existing facilities now due for refurbishment as well as several temporary structures. Six remaining venues to be constructed including an aquatic centre in Brisbane’s CBD and facilities for indoor basketball, gymnastics and boxing in Moreton Bay. CBRE’s report into the Games’ effect on Brisbane found the industrial and logistics sector will benefit most from this increased construction activity springing from sporting infrastructure and other major projects.

The athlete’s village is to spread between residential blocks in three separate locations – the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton, Kooralbyn on the Gold Coast and Maroochydore, the major centre on the Sunshine Coast where a new CBD is currently under construction. About 14,000 of the athletes will be accommodated in Brisbane’s village project, located in inner suburb of Albion, the village considered Queensland’s largest waterfront urban renewal project.

Roads to Recovery

Access between venue locations will be smoothed by the $9 billion committed in 2021/22’s budget for new and upgraded roads and motorways linking SEQ, along with $6 billion worth of rail network upgrades across the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. These include the new North Coast Line which will greatly improve access to the Sunshine Coast, home to coastal holiday hubs of Noosa and Coolum.

This improved transport infrastructure is viewed as a major driver for commercial markets north of Brisbane according to Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel, who describes Brisbane winning the 2032 Olympic Games as his region’s equivalent of “winning gold”.

“The Olympic Games will be a catalyst for significant growth in the Sunshine Coast tourism property sector,” Mr Stoeckel told Commercial Property Guide.  “Given the current economic difficulties facing our industry the announcement provides a welcome boost as well as longer-term optimism for recovery of our tourism and hospitality industries. We have already attracted major new hotel developments such as the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in the new Maroochydore town centre, while the Wagner family is progressing with plans to build a major new tourism accommodation development in the heart of Mooloolaba.

“There are also proposals for an integrated wave pool and resort development along Steve Irwin Drive near Australia Zoo, and a Westin hotel development on the coast at Yaroomba. The appeal of the Sunshine Coast and ongoing destination developments such as the extension of the Sunshine Coast Airport runway have provided the foundations for sustainable growth - and now the Olympics will increase the spotlight on the region’s potential.”

The Games would further position the region as a world-class destination for holding events which would lead to even more development, Mr Stoeckel added. “The Olympics will certainly attract significant new tourism infrastructure that goes beyond sporting facilities,” he said. “There are plans for faster and direct transport services to Brisbane, and the Olympics will provide even more of a boost to the new Maroochydore central business district – currently under construction – as a venue for a satellite athletes’ village.”

Economic optimism

Brisbane’s CBD and fringe office markets, already on the improve, are well placed for major growth in coming years due to the announcement: CBRE’s Brisbane managing director Chris Butters said it was feasible the 2032 Olympics could generate enough activity to warrant another 15,000sqm to 20,000sqm of office space, especially in light of the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail (the underground railway to run through central Brisbane) project had alone led to a need for 8000sqm extra office space.

The stage is also set for increased residential development. SEQ is already the fastest growing region in the country, Queensland as whole attracting another 30,000 residents over the course of last year. One developer Don O’Rorke is so confident in the Games’ magnetic effect he announced further residential projects within 24 hours of Brisbane’s confirmation as host city, while PRD chief economist Diaswati Mardiasmo said house prices could more than double by the time the 2032 Olympic flame is lit. Mr Mardiasmo compared the effect on Brisbane’s residential market to that of the 2014 G20 summit when the Queensland capital’s home prices jumped 112.7 per cent in the 12 years following the event’s announcement in 2003.

Similarly, CBRE’s research into the Games’ effect points out that from the time of the September 1993 Sydney announcement until the event in 2000, the city had the best performing residential area in the country with prices growing over 8 per cent each year.

“The Olympics will transform South-East Queensland with direct benefits from the event and infrastructure investment as secondary benefits from the global recognition the region receives,” said CBRE’s Queensland Senior Managing Director Bruce Baker.