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Concerns Over Iconic Venue With Residential Development To 'Tower Over'

29 June 2023 | 3:54 pm | Mary Varvaris

“What is essential, however, is that with development comes respect for the culture and vibrancy that makes The Valley what it is."

The Zoo

The Zoo (Credit: Cat Clarke)

Developers in Brisbane’s (Meanjin) Fortitude Valley precinct have revealed plans to build a sprawling residential complex directly adjacent to The Zoo, one of the Queensland capital’s most revered live music venues.

The proposed development would consist of two towers – one stacked up with 25 storeys and the other with 20 – both sporting residential dwellings as well as ground-floor retail and bar offerings. Sungard Property Group is spearheading the project, and if approved, it will be built on Winn Street, which backs on to The Zoo.

As the Brisbane Times reports, Sungard’s Chief Executive Adrian Bogatez called the Fortitude Valley an “obvious” location for the towers and added that the company aims to “lean in” to Brisbane’s nightlife, with The Zoo, its closest neighbour.

“What we want to do is create an attraction to Winn Street and make it a destination,” Bogatez said. “Then, on top of that, there’ll be amenities for the residential unit dwellers within the two towers.”

In a statement to The Music, QMusic Chief Executive Kris Stewart said that while he welcomes the new developments in the Valley, it’s “essential” that a project like this one respects the cultural vibrancy of Brisbane.

"We welcome increased investment into Fortitude Valley, and if the development brings more people to the precinct to buy tickets to shows for Australian artists, then even more so,” Stewart said.

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“What is essential, however, is that with development comes respect for the culture and vibrancy that makes The Valley what it is. The Zoo is an iconic piece of infrastructure for Queensland's live music industry, and any development that happens around it must have the protection and growth of live music venues like it central to their planning.”

In December, The Zoo celebrated its 30th year of operating as a music venue. The space is iconic for music fans and musicians in Brisbane; everyone from The Pixies, Silverchair, The Black Keys, Lorde, Ben Harper and Nick Cave and The Dirty Three have played there.

"The venue means so much to people, not just in Brisbane, but for the whole community. It's such a beloved space," then co-owner Cat Clarke told The Music.

"It's such a nurturing space for up-and-coming artists and with other artists. [The Zoo] has to be there because there aren't many other, well, there are no other spaces exactly like The Zoo with the history that The Zoo has." Then co-owner Luke 'Boo' Johnston added, "No other venues had the history and the heart and soul that The Zoo has."

The Music has reached out to The Zoo for comment.