Southport is the Gold Coast’s Central Business District and while it may be smaller in comparison to other capital city CBD’s, Southport has seen enormous growth over the past few years as it transforms into an active and vibrant commercial hub for the Gold Coast.

The Building Our City Southport PDA 2017 Status Report (http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/southport-pda-2015-baseline-report-31263.html) examines the growth of commercial business since 2015, comparing the results from the previous 2015 Status Report. The report has highlighted the key changes we have seen across Southport in relation to commercial business operations, pedestrian movement and activities and the developing character and quality of our CBD.

Looking at the high-level results of the report, key statistics include a 40% increase in retail trade floorspace across the CBD and a 13.5% increase in light rail patronage from 2015 to 2017. There are 1,512 new dwellings approved to be built and there is no denying Southport is growing. Understanding these key statistics will ensure our discussions about the future of Southport are focused on what is important and growth is channelled in a way that provides the best outcomes for the CBD.

Within a two-year period, the Southport CBD saw 13 development approvals for apartments. The increase in potential apartments across the CBD means the demand for commercial space to support the pending resident population is increasing. An extremely positive outcome for the Southport CBD, future residents will not be left without the appropriate services and facilities provided through an availability of commercial space.

The report also revealed that there has been an increase in public art works within the Southport CBD from 27 in 2015 to 52 in 2017, almost doubling in two years. This increase can be directly linked to the city-wide Arts and Culture Strategy which has involved the establishment of new public works as part of a broader place making exercise. Additionally, Council façade grants, the launch of Chinatown and the redevelopment of Australia Fair Metro as well as an increase in community events have all contributed to the revitalisation of the CBD area. As a result, there has been an increase in activity in Southport as the population begins to embrace it as the CBD of the Gold Coast. This increased activity and visitation has translated into a stronger night-time economy with an additional 52 premises operating past 7pm which is a 65% increase from 2015 as well as increased pedestrian foot traffic in key areas such as the Nerang Street Mall.

As another round of data collection and analysis begins, future focus areas could include examining the long term operations of existing commercial premises to understand the turn over of businesses and looking at the activities of local residents compared to visitors to understand what services and facilities people are using and how frequently.

​The report has highlighted the changes in commercial spaces in Southport and we should expect to continue to see positive growth across the CBD going into the future.

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