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If we build it, they will come.
Amid all the infighting and arguments over the advent of light rail in Palm Beach, I want to focus on something closer to home – light rail in Nobby Beach.
While online forums appear outraged every time I reference public infrastructure in Palmy, I thought perhaps it’s time to explain that I do, indeed, have skin in this game.
My home is just 200 metres from the future station and while it will be a few years before my family and I are actually all aboard, the positive effects of the rail coming to town are already right on track.
While we all love our corner shops at Nobby Beach, there’s no doubt that – whether due to fire or economic famine – they could use a facelift. While I fully support our local small businesses, the truth is that what this cluster of shops most resembles is a sagging suburban strip mall, rather than an enclave of beachside boutiques.
While various pubs and restaurants have come and gone from the area over the years – many extremely successful operations – the precinct as a whole has never received the renovation it deserved.
And there’s only one reason why it’s finally happening … light rail.
Yes, the light rail brought development to my part of town, but it brought development that doesn’t just suit but elevates the character, history and charm of the suburb.
Artist impression of Nobby Beach’s big revamp, including The FrederickUnder a striking plan by Nobby’s two biggest commercial landowners, fruiterer George Manettas and developer Daniel Veitch unveiled a few weeks ago their complementary developments that will reflect the arched architecture of former Gold Coast landmarks such as the Pink Poodle Motel, the Southport Bathing Pavilion, and the still-standing Sata Nita building in Southport.
The impressive-looking three-level ventures will front the Gold Coast Highway and flank Lavarack Rd and are intended to be “better than world class”, with ground-level retail, first-floor commercial space, bars and restaurants and even a public pool on each top level.
Architect Darren Greenaway, of BDA, told the Bulletin the proposed buildings will enhance the existing village charm of Nobby Beach.
“There will be a series of laneways and courtyards,” Mr Greenaway said.
“The aim is to draw people on to the sites with these laneways, an eclectic mix of boutique-style tenants, and lush landscaping.
“We’re aiming for a tree-laced High Street-type location, similar to Hastings St in Noosa and James St in Brisbane – something the Gold Coast does not have.”
Most importantly, Mr Greenaway said the development was born to benefit from exposure to the light-rail station planned in front of the shops.
“People will be able to step off the train, embrace what the new Nobby village will offer, and walk straight down Lavarack Rd to the beach.”
The light rail has helped encourage positive new development. Picture: Mike BatterhamEven better, each building will have four basements and between them will provide parking for 680 vehicles – something that is desperately needed for the area already.
One of the only criticisms of the light rail that I’ve heard from my Nobby’s neighbours is that we’ll lose some existing street parking due to the station.
Yet by making the sacrifice to build this infrastructure, we’ve ended up winning hundreds more parks than we ever imagined – and all with private (ie non-taxpayer) money.
CONTRACTS AWARDED FOR BROADBEACH TO BURLEIGH TRAM EXTENSION
And that’s precisely why this transport project matters to the city.
So not only is light rail bringing my Nobby’s neighbourhood essential public transportation services, but better facilities, more parking and more jobs.
Why would I ever complain?
Not to mention it’s fattening my own wallet as well.
No, I don’t have any vested financial interest in the rail itself, but there’s no denying my proximity to the future station has put a rocket under my home’s value.
Artist impression of Nobby Beach's big revamp, including The FrederickJust yesterday I noticed a home for sale on the adjoining street. Ever the nosy neighbour, I had to search its asking price – and was absolutely shocked that it was fully 50 per cent more than I expected.
Surely that must be a misprint, I thought. So I called the agent to find out the facts (yep, I’m that person).
This article first appeared on www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au
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