Sunland Moves on from ‘Champagne Flute’ Mishap with New Project for the Site

After losing the battle over their proposed “champagne flute” skyscrapers in the former ABC Toowong headquarters, Sunland has moved on and is currently planning a new project for the site.

It can be recalled that they became controversial in 2018 after the Grace on Coronation development also known as “champagne flutes” skyscrapers by Zaha Hadid Architects received criticisms due to “lack of sensitivity to the geography and context of the site.”

The new project, which is in its early planning stage, is expected to adhere to the 15 storey limit. The initial project would have been 27 storeys, greater than what’s outlined in the planning scheme. The developers dumped the structure in December following the rejection from the Planning and Environment Court in September 2018.

According to the company’s managing director Sahba Abedian, they are in the process of preparing the new development application for the project.

“We are now directing every effort to conceive a new architectural outcome that celebrates the unique riverfront site,” Abedian said.

Abedian, who assures the project will contribute to “Brisbane’s coming of age as a true international city” said that no further details will be available until a new development application is lodged.

For updates on the new project, follow the Sunland Group website and Facebook page.

Controversial Grace on Coronation Development Proposal Scrapped; New Project Now Being Planned

After losing the legal battle, Sunland has decided to abandon its “Grace on Coronation” development plans at the Coronation Drive, Toowong.

The controversial “champagne flute” skyscraper — designed by Dame Zaha Hadid, who passed away in 2016 — was a $430-million development proposal for a 555-unit, two 24-storey and one 27-storey towers at the former ABC studios site. The proposed development at the 1.5-hectare site also included a landscaped public parkland and ground floor retail space. Approval was granted by the Brisbane City Council in 2015 and construction was scheduled to commence that same year.

Local resident Kate Peta Bell, however, appealed the decision on the grounds that the proposed buildings exceeded the height limitation of 15-storeys. The appeal was dismissed by Judge Rackemann on the basis that the public space surrounding the base of the tower offset the non-compliance with the Brisbane City Council planning scheme.

Photo Credit: Zaha Hadid /

In May 2018, the Planning and Environment Court’s decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Queensland and leave to appeal was granted.

It is not for the decision maker (including in this context a Court), to gainsay the expression of what constitutes the public interest that is in a planning scheme. A decision maker might think that a limit of 15 storeys is too restrictive, and the public would be better served by a higher limit. But this decision maker must accept that it is in the public interest that the limit be 15 storeys, because that is what the planning scheme effectively provides – Bell v Brisbane City Council & Ors [2018] QCA 84.

Ultimately, by the judge substituting his own view of the public interest for that which was expressed in the Scheme, there was a legal error which affected his conclusion under s 326. Further, that was also affected by the legal error in the interpretation of overall outcome (3)(h). –  Bell v Brisbane City Council & Ors [2018] QCA 84.

In my conclusion, the judgment was affected by errors of law, which warrant a grant of leave to appeal and the appeal being allowed. – Bell v Brisbane City Council & Ors [2018] QCA 84.

Ultimately, the proposal was refused in the Planning and Environment Court’s final decision last September 2018.

The Sunland Group said that they respect the court’s decision and has since removed the “Grace on Coronation” development from their website. A new project for the Coronation Drive site is now being conceived, however, no details have been disclosed yet.