Brisbane skate arena eyesore set for development

The former Red Hill Skate Arena is edging closer to being redeveloped. Picture: Annette Dew
The former Red Hill Skate Arena is edging closer to being redeveloped. Picture: Annette Dew

There is hope for a rebirth of one of Brisbane’s best known eyesores in coming months, as the owner pushes ahead with plans to redevelop the former Red Hill Skate Arena.

The 1920s-built heritage building has sat dilapidated, neglected and vandalised since it was gutted by a fire on Boxing Day in 2002.

Brett Heading and his partner, Susan Mercer, who run Clovely Estate Cellar Door next door, bought the landmark site near the corner of Musgrave Rd and Enoggera Terrace in 2011.

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Plans were approved by Brisbane City Council to transform the site into a function centre, retail shops and restaurants, but local residents objected and the dispute ended up in court.

Heading now wants to put that behind him and push ahead with a new plan to get something up and running soon.

Red Hill Skate Arena Brisbane

The former Red Hill Skate Arena site is inching closer to redevelopment. Picture: Patria Jannides

“We haven’t given up on it,” he said.

“We’ll be asking the council to be flexible and allow us to stage the development.

“We’re seeking a meeting with council at the moment and hope they’ll be enthusiastic with our plans for it.”

The current development approval includes creating a new two level building on the site, but Mr Heading said staging the development would allow improvements to be made to the shell of the existing building first.

“We can get a roof on the arena and get it tidied up without having to do the development on the skate rink straight away,” he says.

“At least then it would mean it’s not the unsightly wreck that it is now.”

Red Hill Skate Arena site fire Brisbane

Susan Mercer is the owner of the former Red Hill Skate Arena site. Picture: Annette Dew

Heading wants the space to accommodate a small function centre as well as offer an extended experience to Clovely Estate Cellar Door.

“Everything from potentially wine blending to wine education classes and a cooking school,” he says.

He envisages the process taking six to nine months if the council gives it the green light.

The plans would also allow for some separate retail tenants along Enoggera Terrace to complement the operation.

Architect David Gole of Conrad Gargett says the objective is to maintain the site’s cultural significance and edgy, industrial feel.

Gole says the original idea for the site was to create a place where people could enjoy a food and wine experience.

“It’s always been a cultural site for Brisbane so it would be nice to think it could continue to provide that experience,” he says.

This article from The Courier Mail was originally published as “Owner of former Red Hill Skate Arena to push ahead with plans to redevelop the Brisbane eyesore”.