In a matter of months, Brisbane has gone from a city with no Art Series Hotels to a place with two on the horizon. Following in the footsteps of The Johnson at Spring Hill, a second venue will form part of the Howard Smith Wharves Development.
Just which artist the new boutique accommodation establishment will honour is yet to be determined — but with construction not expected to start until mid-2016, that's hardly surprising. That the five-star, 164-room hotel will be a tourist drawcard is easier to predict, particularly given that the proposed designs look out over the Brisbane River while blending into the surrounding cliff face.
A 1500-square metre exhibition space, entertainment stages, a restaurant precinct and a craft brewery are also part of plans currently being considered by the Brisbane City Council, alongside grassy play areas, gardens, a walking track and dedicated cycle path. As anyone familiar with the existing location will know, the revamp presents quite a change for the 3.43 hectare site.
Those not so well versed in Brisbane history might not realise the spot's significance, or why the buildings that remain have been heritage listed. Indeed, the area has remained vacant for the past half a century, and has barely been given a second glance by walkers strolling by or passengers on passing CityCats. Until the 1960s, the wharves were a key part of the city's shipping trade — and during the Second World War in the 1940s, they also became home to five air raid shelters. From 2017, they might just form part of a new precinct that opens up the New Farm end of the Story Bridge to the public.
For more information about the Howard Smith Wharves Development, visit their website.