Secret’s out: Redland City the place to be
The secret’s out: Redland City is officially on the map as a great place to live, work and do business.
I am happy to report that my recent Asian trade mission has already delivered results and our hard work locally to promote the city and its potential is also having a positive impact.
Since returning from Japan, Taiwan and China I have hosted two follow-up fact-finding missions from potential investors, one from Beijing and the latest a large Hong Kong-based consortium with major projects worth billions of dollars either delivered or on the drawing board in Asia, Japan and Australia.
It was a pleasure to host the Far East Consortium’s Chairman Mr David Chiu and Executive Directors Andrew Chiu and Craig Williams. They were impressed by what they saw of Redland City and by the investment potential here. They have already taken follow-up action from their special trip to Queensland.
I was able to show both groups our Priority Development Areas at Toondah Harbour, Cleveland and Weinam Creek, Redland Bay, and other opportunities in the city.
There is an air of confidence in and about Redland City, as our Open for Business and Investment message spreads.
It is also encouraging to see our Cleveland CBD revitalisation project is also delivering results, with two recent major sales of properties in the CBD indicating confidence is returning. I am confident the surge of interest in Redland City investment will continue.
This makes it even more vital that local businesspeople support the formation of the proposed Cleveland Business Improvement District, that is aimed at providing further longer term benefits for business and customers.
I am also keen to bring together tourism stakeholders with a view to collaborating to “sell” our magnificent tourism product.
We have been for too long the undiscovered secret of South East Queensland, and I am determined to do what we can to change this.
I want people to not only know what and where we are, but to come here and experience Redland City for themselves – we have so much to offer, on the mainland and our wonderful islands.
Business, education potential
During my Asia trade mission I also identified enormous potential for Redland City schools and businesses.
In Kani City, Japan, there is an opportunity for our SMEs to consider their products for export. Size does not matter – it is the quality and creativity that can cut through and open markets in Asia.
A number of local businesses are taking advantage of the opportunities by exhibiting at the Kani City Industrial Fair.
As a result of my visit to our Chinese Sister City Qinhuangdao, we have already matched up Redland businesses to share our marina and canal expertise to their new tourism city.
There is a growing middle class in China who are keen to offer their children quality education, and they are looking at Australia. There was also great interest in educational opportunities from Taiwan and Japan.
The message I sent during the mission was Redland City had some of the best schools in Queensland, and that we are a welcoming community with wonderful natural assets.
In order to brief schools on these opportunities and to gauge their interest in either expanding or entering the lucrative international education market, I have convened an Education Round Table at the Redland Performing Arts Centre on 7 November. All City secondary schools have been invited.
Redlands’ international exposure
The Redlands has been putting on a show for major Japanese trade chiefs.
For the second year, the City has been represented at the annual Kani City Industrial Fair, in the Gifu Prefecture, which attracts more than 20,000 distributors, retailers and vendors.
The October 26 event allows the Redlands to showcase quality local producers, such as the Alchemy Cordial Company, the organically grown Straddie Teas and local indigenous product from Salt Water Murris.
The Redlands’ award–winning Sirromet Wines, which already sends its fine wines to Japan and China, had its own stand.
During the event, the Redlands invited Masami Tashiro, head of the massive Valor food and supermarket corporation, to have a drink on us with the presentation of a basket of Redlands goodies, including Sirromet wines, Alchemy cordials and Straddie teas.
Moreton Bay tourism attractions and details of investment opportunities in the Redlands also featured in the display.
It is part of plans to develop the City’s economic, education and cultural ties with Japan and China.
Mayor Karen Williams has recently returned from her first visit to Kani City, where Mayor Shigeki Tomida and City officials were very welcoming.
Redland City is keen to strengthen its relationship with Kani City and Cr Williams hopes to host Mr Tomida in the Redlands next year.
Council’s “open for business’’ ethos continues to generate exciting results for the city with another Asian business delegation visiting the Redlands last week to explore investment opportunities.
The delegates were from the Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium, an international development company with a strong Australian presence.
The visit included tours of both Redland City Priority Development Areas (PDAs) followed by a presentation and in-depth discussion of investment opportunities.
The investors obviously liked what they saw, promptly engaging their architects to present design options for potential investment in the Redlands.
This most recent delegation follows the visit from Beijing-based investors to explore similar opportunities.
Both visits were generated by Mayor Karen Williams’ business mission to Asia, where she flew the Redlands’ flag and invited both groups of investors here to see firsthand what we have on offer.
Business and investment has been gathering momentum in the Redlands recently, and it appears the media is starting to take notice.
Several stories have appeared in recent weeks showcasing the Redlands as a location for investment.
The September 14 Courier-Mail Home property section featured the headline “Booming Bayside’’ with a beautiful aerial photograph of the Redlands on the front cover.
Inside, the stories outlined the exciting Priority Development Area (PDA) plans for the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek marine precincts, along with the Kinross Road development in Thornlands.
The Courier-Mail’s Prime Site section then spread the word further on 18 October.
A story entitled “Investors drawn to Redlands” told of international investors visiting the City to investigate business opportunities.
The following day’s Courier-Mail continued the trend, with a story entitled “Open for business’’, a catchcry for which the Redlands is becoming known.
The story featured a photograph of Mayor Karen Williams with Beijing investors who visited the Redlands recently, as well as mentioning the Mayor’s recent address to the Urban Development Institute of Australia.
Planning for the future
Project Manager for the Redlands Planning Scheme review, Kim Kerwin, has hit the ground running since she started her new role six weeks ago.
Kim is under no illusion about the massive scope of this important two-year project, which will ultimately deliver a blueprint for future development across the City from 2015.
“The new Redlands Planning Scheme will serve as a pivotal instrument to facilitate sustainable development outcomes for the City,” she says.
“It has to take into account a wide range of issues, such as high-growth projections and the community’s lifestyle expectations.
“It also has to give developers the confidence they need to invest by clearly defining appropriate land uses.”
Fortunately for Council, Kim comes well-qualified for the role – she has honed her skills in the specialist field of development and planning with both private and public sectors for the past 35 years.
Her CV includes stints as coordinator of the South East Regional Organisation of Councils, as executive coordinator of regional planning and urban design at Gold Coast City Council and, most recently, as deputy CEO of Croydon Shire Council in Far North Queensland.
She says her love affair with the Redlands dates to her childhood when her parents introduced her to our City’s unique blend of bush, bay and island lifestyles.
She says she was drawn back here by the opportunity to play an important role in its future.
There has been significant movement in the Cleveland CBD in the past month, pointing to a bright future for local retailing and investment.
The recent $1.41 million sale of Bloomfield Street’s Bank of Queensland building has been quickly followed by a $2.825 million deal for the nearby Centrelink building.
Both properties were sold by Chesterton International’s Glenn Conridge, who said there was growing evidence investors were switching on to the Redlands’ lifestyle benefits.
He also indicated there was keen interest in another key building.
Meanwhile, Suncorp bank has moved across the road to new premises on the corner of the Stockland shopping mall on the north side of Middle Street.
Stockland reports that the old Suncorp bank on the south side of Middle Street is now being refurbished and will open as a discount retailer just before Christmas.
There also is movement in the small-business sector with the expansion of Fish on Fire, on Middle Street, well underway. A new business, The Spice Grinder, has moved into Metro Arcade.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the investor and business interest in the Redlands was just another example of the city being open for business.
“This activity is a positive sign for the Cleveland CBD and shows that the momentum for rejuvenation has started,’’ Cr Williams said.
“As it gathers pace we can look forward to an economic boost and jobs growth, particularly with redevelopment of Toondah Harbour on the horizon.’’
Cleveland Councillor (Division 2) Craig Ogilvie said Council’s recent Commercial Investment Attraction Study highlighted a strong retail sector, proximity to public transport and visual amenity as the CBD’s strong points.
“Redland City Council has created an incentives package to promote development and investment in Cleveland’s business heart, with a particular focus on unlocking the development potential of under-utilised sites,’’ Cr Ogilvie said.
“These incentives include discounts on development application fees and infrastructure contributions, as well as prompt assessments and car parking concessions.’’
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“There’s a really proactive and positive vibe here at the moment,” she says.
“The Council’s ‘open for business and investment’ philosophy is getting real traction … the City is moving forward.”
The new Redlands Planning Scheme will fit hand-in-glove with the next incarnation of the South East Queensland Regional Plan, as well as a raft of other State Government planning instruments designed to preserve the lifestyle we love in the Redlands.