Brisbane is set to become a New World City. Up there with the likes of Barcelona, Miami and a handful of other cities, Brisbane is poised to elevate itself into a new league: a world league.


Supported by the Brisbane 2022 New World City Action Plan, there’s no denying that many parts of Brisbane will look different in five years’ time. And while these exciting times will breathe energy into our city, DMA Partners Managing Director Ryan Andersen also believes inner-city landlords and food retailers will need to invest and adapt, or be left behind.


“For the most part, Brisbane’s casual and quick service restaurants have largely remained unchanged for decades, with many food courts and eatery formats similar to what we all grew up with,” Ryan said.


“In comparison to the offer in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane has generally slipped behind in the choice and quality of food and beverage in the CBD.


“While the current offer meets the basic demands of today, the choice is generally tired and will not keep up with the demands of tomorrow, as a number of mega food and entertainment precincts come on line.


“In the CBD alone, we’re witnessing the delivery of Queen’s Wharf, Brisbane Quarter, and Howard Smith Wharves – three significant developments that will have a huge impact on the retail and entertainment landscape of our city.


“Add to this government driven projects, such as Cross River Rail with its major activations around new stations at Albert and Roma Streets, and you start to see the emergence of this New World City everyone is talking about.


“One that integrates living, working, entertainment and dining.”


To make the most of ‘future Brisbane’, Ryan believes it’s time for retailers to start benchmarking their businesses against 2022, now.


According to The Business of Cities founder Greg Clark, Brisbane is in the top 30% of the world’s fastest growing cities. He said that while it’s not massive, and still lacks some cultural depth and confidence, Brisbane does offer a scale of opportunity that’s of interest to international groups and investors.


Ryan said that one of the biggest mistakes food and beverage retailers can make is to think there will be no impact. He said that DMA is already working with landlords and retailers who are investing and planning for the future.


“We’ve started working with landlords who are embracing the change with plans to roll out vibrant alfresco dining precincts that will compete on the world-stage in terms of design innovation, but are also uniquely Brisbane,” Ryan said.


Reddog Architects Managing Director Paul Worroll builds on Ryan’s comments, saying that the Brisbane CBD is growing up, and with that will come growing pains.


“Like any teenager, the success of Brisbane’s CBD will come from us getting ‘comfortable in our own skin’ and embracing our distinctive identity.


“The casual and friendly lifestyle, landscape, subtropical climate and river are genuine assets to be enhanced through design.


“The opportunity exists to create authentic food spaces that connect to the outdoors and embrace the wonderful climate and eclectic social setting that we live in.


“In a recent café fitout in Queen Street, Reddog Architects merged the client’s classic New York branding vision with the site-specific observations to create a relaxed food space, which harnessed river breezes and views to the canopies of adjacent fig trees.”


Ryan said that while Brisbane’s new offerings would need to reflect the city’s subtropical setting as Reddog Architects has done so well, it will also be interesting to see what international trends influence the development of our city as we move towards the New World City of 2022.


“Will we see a fresh food precinct like The Grove in Los Angeles or a high-end, multi-restaurant destination like New York’s Eataly chain?


“Who knows? But we are certainly set to see a whole new range of offerings and styles in these new precincts across the CBD.”