High rise next to Customs House one step closer after UQ lose court case
The University of Queensland (UQ) has lost an appeal to block the construction of a high-rise tower next to Customs House in the Brisbane CBD.
UQ owns Customs House and said the proposed tower at 443 Queen Street would damage its heritage value because it was too high and too close.
Brisbane City Council approved the development on December 22 last year, deeming it was “code assessable” and did not require public submissions.
The decision prompted UQ to appeal to the Planning and Environment Court, with the university arguing the council wrongly declared the development as code assessable and did not properly assess the application.
However the university’s appeal was dismissed in court on Friday, with Judge William Everson ruling the development was code assessable.
One of the architects of the 47-storey tower, Elizabeth Watson Brown, said she was relieved by the decision.
“I am terribly excited,” she said.
“I think it was the right decision because I was very surprised there was opposition to it in the first place because we believe this is a project that could be transformative for Brisbane.”
The building will include 264 luxury apartments with views of the Brisbane River.
Builder Cbus Property described the project as “a tower on stilts” with a large void at ground level, allowing people on Queen Street to see the Brisbane River and Story Bridge.
In a statement, UQ said it was considering the court’s judgment.
“Until the appeal period has expired, the university is unable to comment further,” it said.
In January, about 100 people rallied outside Customs House to protest against the development.
However, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk promised a heritage wall and large fig tree at the site would be protected.