Southport is bracing for a boom, with the Central Business District declared a Priority Development Area today.
The decision announced by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney from the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE, will stream-line the development process, cutting through red tape and paving the way for a fresh approach to planning of the CBD.
The Southport CBD is currently suffering through major construction for the Light Rail works, with some businesses forced to shut up shop.
But Committee for Southport Chairman John Howe hopes this change in legislation will breathe life back into the heart of the Gold Coast.
“Thirty thousand people work in Southport, it's the biggest employer on the Gold Coast,” Mr Howe explains.
“It's a government precinct, you've also got the legal profession there and educational profession,” he added.
“I think what we're seeing at the moment is a lot of interest from overseas education facilities in very large scale projects."
We need to strengthen that and get the heavy rail connected to the light rail in Brisbane and encourage national and international business.”
But Mr Howe denies it’s a case of build it and they will come: "These days, developers have an idea on who their tenants will be.”
Mr Seeney also announced today that the Southport Hospital would be demolished and the land sold to developers. The demolition process is set to begin next year.
The vacant hospital land covers around 3.5 hectares and falls within the newly declared Southport Priority Development Area.
The Deputy Premier said "that is why the Government has made the decision to sell a clean site, to maximise the return to the state and most importantly to ensure that development can occur as rapidly as possible".
The Government is in the process of appointing a project manager to deal with the demolition and site preparation and that should happen within weeks.
Member for Southport Rob Molhoek said "businesses and residents will be kept fully informed".
"While the bulk of the hospital operations have moved to the new hospital, the Blood bank will remain at the Southport site until early November" Mr Molhoek added.
The LNP is expected to launch a marketing campaign next year.