LaSalle Investment Management is to embark on its first large-scale mixed-use development in Brisbane, Australia, costing AUD500m (€345m).

The project in Fortitude Valley, a popular inner city suburb in the Queensland capital, involves regeneration of what is known locally as the rail precinct. 

It will include 207 apartments and a new commercial tower, offering some 35,000sqm of office space. The plan also involves refurbishment of an existing office building, known as the Transport House.

Ian Mackie, international director at LaSalle, told IPE Real Estate that the first phase would include renovation of a small shopping centre and the railway station.

He said the Fortitude railway station is one of the busiest in Brisbane. Around 15,000 commuters pass through it every day.

Asked if he was concerned about the outlook for the apartment market in Brisbane’s central business district, Mackie said the project would not be delivered into the current market cycle. It is a project for the future, he said.

“There are a couple of things to consider. It will take six months for the development application to be processed, and 2.5 years to develop the project.”

The apartment block, valued at AUD135m, is not due for completion until the end of this decade.

Mackie said that the residential tower would be built atop a busy railway station, and that Fortitude Valley itself has been undergoing gentrification in recent years.

“These two factors give us comfort to embark on this big project,” he said.

LaSalle is no stranger to residential development in Australia. It has already developed 3660 apartments in Sydney, according to Mackie.

The global investment manager yesterday lodged plans for the development with Brisbane City Council. The project will also require the approval of Queensland Railways.

LaSalle holds a 99-year lease that expires in 2071 on the space above the train station.

The Brisbane site was acquired as part of the former Lend Lease Core Plus portfolio of six assets, which LaSalle purchased in 2014 for AUD316m. 

Mackie said LaSalle bought two other smaller commercial buildings to increase the area of the rail precinct.

He said LaSalle would develop the project by itself at this stage, but could consider bringing in partners and investors as the project evolves.