Historic Burleigh Theatre Set for Residential Conversion


Sydney-based developer Weiya Holdings has lodged plans to transform the historic Burleigh Theatre building on the Gold Coast into a new residential and commercial precinct.

Weiya, which bought the 64 Goodwin Terrace site for $18.5 million midway through 2019, said the planned redevelopment would include retention of the distinctive façade of the existing two-storey building.

The 90-year-old building—a popular cinema and dance hall from the 1930s—was remodelled in 1955 and again in 1976, with most of its original fixtures removed.

The development application, now in front of the City of Gold Coast, includes 36 apartments across 14 levels as well as three levels of basement parking.

Multiple views of proposed residential development for the historic Burleigh theatre.
▲ The corner site has direct frontage to Gold Coast Highway and is located next to the proposed Burleigh Heads light rail station. Image: Conrad Gargett

The Conrad Gargett-designed project will also include a streetfront retail arcade that pays homage to the building’s existing two-storey volume with the inclusion of additional retail tenancies.

If approved the project would mark the first ever adaptive re-use of a building with heritage elements on the Gold Coast.

Saunders Havill Group senior town planner Andrew McLean said Weiya had made considerable concessions to meet community expectations following initial plans to demolish the arcade.

Conrad Gargett director John Flynn told The Urban Developer close attention to the site’s historical context was paid following its addition to the local heritage register in 2019.

“Development sites with heritage buildings of local or state significance are certainly more complex and challenging projects, but also have many positives too,” Flynn said.

“They represent really exciting design opportunities for new built form to respond to the heritage place and also to realise the commercial value of the unique branding of a heritage place.

“Our approach is to also recognise the cultural value of a place, its history and embedded stories.”

In a nod to its local significance, materials such as photos, models and artefact displays will be present in the entryway of the building.

“It makes for a rich cultural offering as part of the development and the basis for some solid branding, building on the heritage values of the place,” Flynn said.

Weiya, known for its land subdivisions and apartment projects across New South Wales and south-east Queensland, currently has plans for a similar oceanfront apartment building in Terrigal, and is pressing ahead with a 350-lot subdivision at Collingwood Park outside of Brisbane.

The developer hopes to receive approval from the Gold Coast council within an eight-month window, with construction tipped to begin in mid-2021.

The development will sit directly opposite the the site of a planned light rail station, which will connect Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads, following the approval of the business case for the third stage of the $700 million transport project.

Nearby, Brisbane-based developer Spyre Group is set to replace a 12-year-old apartment block with an 18-storey apartment tower on Burleigh’s The Esplanade.

Further down The Esplanade, Nielson Properties is working through council approval on a $350 million twin-tower project, a development set to include Burleigh Heads’ first five-star hotel.

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