Brisbane is the capital and, with a population of over 2 million, is the most populous city in Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. It has a wealth of historic buildings, particularly in the downtown, at an extreme bend of the Brisbane River, where European settlement dates back as far as 1825.
The City of Brisbane introduced a TDR process called Transferable Site Area (TSA) in its City Centre in 1987. The Brisbane City Plan (as amended 1 January 2009) lists 60 buildings in City Centre allocated transferable site area due to their significance as heritage buildings. When the owner of one of these heritage sites assures the City Council that the landmark is conserved, the Council may approve additional transferable site area to a receiving site, which must be located within the City Centre Neighborhood Plan area. Council can grant all of the transferable site area established for each specific landmark in the City Plan or a lesser amount (but not less than 300 square meters). The Council has the discretion to determine whether or not to approve the proposed transfer based on the area and frontage of the receiving site and the additional development that the transfer would produce.
According to the Brisbane City Centre Master Plan 2006, the TSA provisions had been used eight times as of that date. As one example, a 34-story office/retail receiving site tower at the corner of Turbot and George streets used TSA from the adjoining McDowell & East Department Store historic landmark at 414 George Street. Despite this activity, the Master Plan explains that most parts of Brisbane’s City Centre have no height limit, a feature that would significantly reduce demand for transferable rights without some other regulation to create a baseline. Furthermore, the Master Plan notes that TSA only has value if receiving sites are not able to circumvent TSA by getting additional development potential in other ways.