Inside Brisbane’s New East Bank: The $2.7B Home for the 2032 Olympics!

The Queensland State Government has committed to a complete demolition and rebuild of the Gabba as the centrepiece of a precinct that will have three new bridges, 880 apartments and capacity for live concerts in front of more than 80,000 people.

Mon 27 Nov 23


Brisbane’s largest development since Expo 88, and one of the largest in Australian history, will proceed after the Queensland State Government confirmed on Friday that the Gabba will be knocked down and rebuilt for the 2032 Olympics. 

It plans to close the stadium in November 2025 after hosting the Ashes Series, 130 years after it originally opened, with the new stadium, part of a $2.7B redevelopment, to be reopened for the 2030 AFL Season.

Significantly, the new stadium will “aim to reuse, recondition, or recycle as much of the existing material of The Gabba as possible and be as materially efficient as feasible to reduce reliance on additional materials and resources.”

However, it does not specify a commitment to building materials in the rebuild or net-zero construction to meet its “climate positive” games commitment…yet.

Nonetheless, it will be part of a greater urban precinct, with Queensland Deputy Premier Stephen Miles confirming that the Olympic upgrade will be part of a new precinct called “East Bank.”

In July 2021, Brisbane was selected by the International Olympic Committee as the host of the 2032 Olympic Games, making it the third Australian City to host the Summer Games after Melbourne in 1956 (the first Southern Hemisphere host) and Sydney in 2000.

Now, the Queensland State Government, which will keep the Olympic Delivery Authority in the public sector, is using the games to rejuvenate the wider East Brisbane precinct, rolling out several infrastructure projects, including three new bridges, 880 apartments and capacity for live concerts in front of more than 80,000 people.

In March, the Queensland State Government controversially announced that the Olympic Delivery Authority – responsible for delivering all games infrastructure – will be managed in house rather than through an independent organising committee (as per historic precedent). Footage courtesy of  @7News.

Included as part of the Gabba Stadium Project Validation Report (PVR), commissioned by the State Government, Deputy Premier Miles said the community consultation on the urban renewal was underway, including what Brisbanites think of calling it “East Bank”.

“The project validation report assessed four possible options for the Gabba and identified that a demolition and rebuild provided the best possible outcome, the best value outcome for the city,” according to Deputy Premier Miles.

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The site is subject to an expanded Master Plan, which sees a more integrated and coordinated planning approach for the whole suburb and allows for resolving complex planning and development matters that unlock value for the surrounding communities (Image Credit: Queensland Government)

He said the new name would cover the broader East Brisbane urban renewal precinct, which includes much of the suburb.

“The vision for the precinct is to be a vibrant place on event and non-event days that is better connected and more sustainable and supports more open space, proving a lasting legacy for residents,” according to the State Government report.

“The broader precinct provides the opportunity for urban renewal of a world-renowned location for the enjoyment of residents and those who visit for work or fun.”

“It will deliver a great mix of uses, from commercial and retail opportunities to hotel and residential options, including at least 20 per cent social and affordable housing.”

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New illustrations of the proposed Gabba upgrade reveal greater accessibility, with a number of bridges leading into the stadium. Source: Queensland Government.

Deputy Premier Miles said the stadium would be fully deconstructed and rebuilt to support Queensland’s long-term sport, community, and entertainment needs before and for decades after Brisbane 2032.

In 2018, before the successful bid for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Stadium Taskforce Report found that The Gabba was a “tired” venue and that it would come to the end of its useful life by 2030, indicating a rebuilt Gabba should be considered irrespective of the Games.

Of the four options, the one selected not only provides the best value for money but also hits the mark on all four key pillars, including being a catalyst for sustainable urban renewal, investment and the ability to attract and host world-class events, according to the report.

The rebuild is within the Woolloongabba Priority Development Area (PDA), which will also include the Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro connect to South Bank, the Brisbane CBD and the new Brisbane Arena at Roma St via a walkable spine, an active travel corridor to South Bank plus Brisbane City Council’s new green bridge.

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Key features around Woolloongabba. Source: Queensland Government.
The new Gabba stadium improvements include:
  • Better viewing through an enhanced design to provide a 360-degree fan experience.
  • Larger entries and concourses for better admission
  • Better connectivity and accessibility throughout, including lifts and escalators
  • Two pedestrian bridges across Main Street form the ‘station to stadium’ connection between the stadium and the Cross River Rail station, as well as a pedestrian bridge over Stanley Street
  • 50,000 seats (potential for greater than 50,000 seats in legacy mode depending on the sport and between 50,000 and more than 70,000 for concerts, depending on the placement of the stage and standing or seated, among other factors)
  • Seamless connection to the broader precinct, currently being master planned to create a new mixed-use precinct with increased greenspace, retail and dining.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said The Gabba’s 128-year history made it “iconic for Queensland, and this redevelopment will ensure a lasting legacy to be enjoyed for another 128 years and beyond”.

“This isn’t just about a stadium upgrade. This is about anchoring an urban renewal project that will see Woolloongabba transformed like South Bank was for Expo 88.”

“The Woolloongabba redevelopment, along with Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro, will anchor a major redevelopment of Woolloongabba to maximise the benefit of public investment and deliver more housing, including social and affordable housing, more jobs, and better connectivity.”

However, the role of low-carbon materials like mass timber, green steel, and low-carbon concrete in this opportunity remains to be seen.

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Andrew Colling, HKS Director, left with Nikken Sekkei, Executive Design Fellow, Hiroshi Miyakawa, centre, who recently announced a new design alliance with Buchan Architects ahead of the Brisbane Olympic Games. (Photo Credit: Supplied by )

As reported in August (and updated yesterday), an alliance of the world’s leading architects believe that timber provides the Queensland Government with a “once in a generation” opportunity to deliver an instantly recognisable and “distinctly Australian.” 

In an interview with the Courier Mail, HKS Director Andrew Colling, one of the architects involved in the alliance, said the revamped Gabba could feature a timber shell with blended greenery and sandstone instead of a cookie-cutter concrete stadium.

Mr Colling said the stadium could incorporate a parkland observation deck on its roof and a cocoon of timber and sandstone to “create something that’s not only distinctly South East Queensland but distinctly Australian.”

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Nikken Sekki is the architectural practice behind the all-timber “The Ariake Gymnastics Centre.” (Photo Credit: Supplied by Nikken Sekki)

The alliance includes Australian-based Buchan architects, Japanese architect Nikken Sekkei, and international sports architects HKS, who forged a design alliance focusing on sustainable timber designs ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games in August.

According to Phil Schoutrop, Buchan’s Brisbane Principal, the trio share a love for community-centric architecture and is looking forward to bringing timber-rich designs to life over the next decade.

In addition to hosting the 2028 Olympic Games, the HKS-designed super stadium also hosts the Los Angeles Rams and the Chargers. The SoFi Stadium is the most expensive venue ever constructed. Footage courtesy of @TheB1M.

“The 2032 Olympic venues, and the spaces in between, need to capture our communal spirit and not end up being generic places that could be anywhere,” Mr Schoutrop said.

“Buchan’s extensive local knowledge pairs well with Nikken Sekkei’s sustainable design expertise to amplify what makes Brisbane unique.”

*Wood Central Disclaimer: The Wood Central Publisher is a director of a not-for-profit organisation known as Precinct George, pushing the Queensland State Government to mandate net-zero precinct developments ahead of the 2032 Olympic Games.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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