The Toowoomba Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA) covers an area of approximately 50 hectares and is designed to be a focus for investment, development and regeneration through an accelerated PDA process driving economic growth and job creation.

The PDA is characterised by Toowoomba’s economic history with several sites reflecting local heritage significance, including the Defiance Flour Mill and the Toowoomba Foundry site.  

The PDA covers land centred on and around the Toowoomba Railyards which extends north to Bridge Street and south to Russell Street, and is bounded by Mort Street to the west and Ruthven and Neil streets to the east. View the Toowoomba Railway Parklands map.

The PDA is situated north of Toowoomba's Central Business District, within the city centre frame. It is focused around central parkland on an operational railyard site and Gowrie Creek, surrounded by a mixture of commercial, industrial, retail and residential land uses.

On 24 July 2020, the Minister for Economic Development Queensland made the Toowoomba Railway Parklands Priority Development Area Development Scheme Amendment No.1 (PDA Development Scheme) under Sections 63 and 67 of the Economic Development Act 2012. The amended Development Scheme came into effect on this date.

The purpose and general effect of the amendment is to modify the relevant parts of the PDA Development Scheme to:
• Align terminology within the PDA Development Scheme with the ED Act;
• Alter the level of assessment for particular land uses;
• Clarify car parking rates in Table 1 of PDA Development Scheme (omit the words ‘services, community and’ and insert the word ‘All’); and
• Include minor formatting and grammatical changes.

To view a copy of PDA scheme please click: Toowoomba Railway Parkland PDA Development Scheme Amendment No. 1 - 24 July 2020 and also available on the Economic Development Queensland website.

Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme Amendment No1 - Submissions Report - MEDQ approved

The Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will develop as an active, high-quality, mixed density urban village which will reinforce and frame the Toowoomba CBD core area. It will embrace its geographic location to integrate industrial, heritage, residential choices and valuable urban parklands through efficiently connected movement corridors. It will provide unique civic and social functions contributing to amenity for the broader Toowoomba region.

Once completed, the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will provide sought after inner-city housing options for Toowoomba’s expanding population, projected to increase by more than 50,000 residents over the next 20 years. 

Watch these short visualisations: 

Priority Development Areas are:

  • parcels of land within Queensland identified for specific accelerated development, with a focus on economic growth, to deliver significant benefits to the community
  • declared by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland under the Economic Development Act 2012
  • where State government works with local Councils to streamline the planning, approval and development processes to achieve results in PDAs
  • places planned and managed to respond to the market and the needs of business and the community.

Toowoomba’s PDA is centrally located to the CBD and close to regionally significant transport infrastructure including the recently opened Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and the proposed Inland Rail network and faster rail corridor to Brisbane; building on the region’s proximity to Brisbane, it’s port and international airport.

The PDA is a key urban renewal and economic development opportunity and is designed as an active, high-quality, mixed density urban village to reinforce and frame the CBD. The area consists of six precincts which will create strong appeal for developers, investors, businesses, employees, residents and visitors.

The Mill: The historic Defiance Flour Mill which operated from 1899 until 2011. The site is planned to be redeveloped into medium density residential for retail and commercial use.

Central: Regionally significant parkland, which will be a focus for community, recreational and leisure activities. We have recently invested $10 million in the restoration of the 120-year-old Goods Shed into a first-class multi-purpose venue. This is part of a broader $50 million Railway Parklands component within the PDA, which will see the former railyards site transformed into an important community asset incorporating open spaces and recreation, with bridge infrastructure linking to other areas of the PDA.

The Link: Residential, business and retail usage that links the PDA to the CBD.

The Gasworks: This 10,569 m²  former industrial site was recently remediated and is ready for medium density residential and commercial redevelopment. Colliers International Toowoomba is the commercial real estate agent for this site.

The Rise: Includes properties in close proximity to the railway station and has the potential to evolve as a business, cultural and entertainment hub. 

The Foundry: Heritage-listed building, formerly the Toowoomba Foundry and Toowoomba Metal Technologies, planned to be developed as medium density residential, retail and commercial, and importantly, to serve as a connection to the surrounding community. 

railway parklands artists impression

Investment focus

The PDA investment focus revolves around the transformation of its historic industrial heart into a series of connected precincts, presenting a wide range of investment opportunities, including and not limited to:

  • medium-density residential apartments, townhouses and terraces
  • commercial office accommodation
  • retail, leisure and entertainment
  • hotel and short-stay accommodation
  • education and training.
  • medical 

Download a copy of the Investment Prospectus for the Toowoomba CBD and Railway Parklands PDA. 

Watch these short investor videos:

Recent Toowoomba CBD investments

We have invested $100 million in a program of infrastructure upgrades, including new civic, community and public realm investments across the PDA and the Toowoomba CBD. These investments include the Outer Circulating Road project, Toowoomba City Library and Civic Square, Kwong Sang Walk, several laneway projects, the Railway Goods Shed and the Ruthven Street North Streetscape project.

Private sector confidence and investment is changing the face of the Toowoomba CBD, including the $500 million redevelopment of Grand Central shopping centre by Queensland Investment Corporation and new short stay accommodation options, including the Burke & Wills Hotel, Central Plaza Apartments, Laguna Apartments, Quest Apartments, The Arbour Boutique Apartments and the Oaks Hotel.

The Toowoomba CBD and the PDA are renowned for their historic and heritage listed buildings, many of which have been re-purposed, retaining their original characteristics whilst providing new and vibrant spaces for boutique retail, commercial enterprise, restaurants, bars and the growing café culture. Walton Stores and The Bank building on Ruthven Street are two fine examples of this form of high-quality design.

The $30 million development of South Central Apartments has also recently commenced and will be a mixed development of ground floor retail, commercial space with apartment living on the upper floors.

The $10 million redevelopment of the Rowes Furniture Store on Russell Street is a further example of building re-purposing and will provide a vibrant space for hospitality, retail and commercial businesses. 

Significant plans and investments are also in the pipeline for key sites in the PDA and the wider CBD, including the recently announced 11-storey multi-deck car park and apartment building and the proposed $8 million project, The Bowery Residences.


Investment incentives

To stimulate investment in the Toowoomba CBD, we manage the Toowoomba CBD Development Incentives Policy. The purpose of the policy is to provide incentives to new development within the incentive area to encourage:

  • high quality design outcomes
  • sympathetic and adaptive re-use of heritage listed buildings
  • the creation of larger development footprints through the amalgamation of lots.

View the Incentives Policy  


Toowoomba Region investments

The Toowoomba Region is the gateway to the Surat Basin with existing and significant planned investments in the coal and gas sector. Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and its related developments, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the planned development of the Toowoomba Trade Gateway have the potential to create thousands of new jobs for the region. The Inland Rail is a further major project which will provide the opportunity for an inland port in the Toowoomba region and generate significant investment in related sectors, including transport, logistics and agribusiness.

The Pulse Data Centre, established in 2018, is the first of its kind offering highly resilient, Tier III Uptime designed large-scale data centre capacity outside of major capital cities. The centre has been designed to support corporate and enterprise customers, all levels of government and major technology companies.  

Toowoomba Region is home to three major hospitals, the University of Southern Queensland, TAFE Darling Downs South West and 90 highly regarded government and independent schools.

The Toowoomba Region boasts a strong and diverse $10.8 billion economy, combined with significant projected population growth which delivers tangible lifestyle and employment benefits.

It is this growth and economic opportunity which provides outstanding opportunities for commercial, retail, leisure and entertainment investment and for both short stay and medium density residential accommodation in the PDA and broader CBD.

1A Neil Street - Premium vacant land on the CBD fringe.

Commercial Real Estate agencies in Toowoomba include:

Colliers International

LJ Hooker Commercial Toowoomba

McGrath Toowoomba

PRD Nationwide Toowoomba

Queensland Hot Property

Raine & Horne Commercial

Ray White Commercial

DC Commercial

For a broader search of commercial property and development sites in Toowoomba, visit:

Toowoomba - Inner City Economy

An economic and resident analysis of Toowoomba's CBD, prepared for Council by .id Consulting is available here.

The Toowoomba CBD is the largest agglomeration of business service workers in the Darling Downs and South West Region. It houses numerous businesses, major retail and community assets that allow it to be a major destination for the regional population.
The area has received unprecedented recent public and private sector investment, including accommodation, retail and public realm improvements. The recent application by the Bernoth Property Group for a 12-storey tower suggests there is increasing interest in higher density residential development in the CBD.
Council has identified the Toowoomba CBD as a major opportunity to increase economic activity in the Region. The second phase of the Inner City Living project is aimed at doing this by creating more opportunities for residents to live and work in the CBD. The Toowoomba Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA) also provides a major opportunity to expand the CBD offer.
Understanding the economic and demographic processes at work in the Toowoomba CBD provides a framework for understanding what role the industries, workforce and community play in the context of SEQ, Queensland and beyond. This can guide what policy responses and investment may be appropriate to support the growth of businesses and maintenance of a vibrant economy in the future.
This report provides a narrative about the scale, recent change, and competitive advantages of the Toowoomba CBD backed by analytical evidence which can help support growth planning and investment priorities.

Coronavirus disclaimer: The analysis is based on pre-coronavirus conditions. 

  • Total land area of PDA - 51.3 hectares
  • Parkland area - 8.6 hectares
  • Land for urban renewal - 25.7 hectares
  • Total commercial floor space (estimated) - 43,500 square metres
  • Residential unit capacity (estimated) - 2,270
  • Economic benefit of PDA development - $680M and 3,000 jobs over 20 years

Planning for the PDA

A development scheme is a relatively simple and flexible document intended to facilitate the purpose of the Economic Development Act 2012  and comprises a land use plan, an infrastructure plan and an implementation strategy. The development scheme must be prepared within 12 months of the declaration of a PDA. The development scheme:

  • Provides certainty to developers, local government, state agencies and the wider community about the type and form of development that can occur in the PDA
  • Sets out the processes and procedures for the assessment of development applications
  • Overrides local and state government planning instruments related to the use of land within a PDA

The Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme is the planning document that will assist in planning, carrying out, promoting, coordinating and controlling the development of land in the PDA. The development scheme supersedes the Interim Land Use Plan, which no longer has effect.

All development applications within the PDA will now be assessed against the development scheme.

The Economic Development Act 2012 (the Act) provides for a streamlined planning and development framework for PDAs to facilitate economic development and development for community purposes. Once a site is declared under the Act, a development scheme for the PDA must be prepared. The development scheme for the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA has been prepared by Toowoomba Regional Council.

Priority Development Areas are not limited to a specific currency (i.e. end of life) time frame.


Infrastructure planning and funding

The Toowoomba Railway Parklands Development Scheme includes an infrastructure plan to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support this growing and dynamic area. Infrastructure charges are set out in our charges resolution.


Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Interim Land Use Plan

Until the development scheme was finalised, development within the PDA was regulated under the Interim Land Use Plan (ILUP). The ILUP was replaced by the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme on 29 January 2016.


Reasons for declaration for priority development area (PDA)

The Toowoomba Railway Parklands site is a key urban renewal and economic development opportunity for Toowoomba and the region. Significant master planning has already been undertaken and the declaration of this site as a PDA builds on this work and improves investor confidence in the site.

It is anticipated that development within the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will:

  • generate jobs through construction and in the completed development
  • provide a range of new housing types for the community's changing needs
  • attract development and new business
  • deliver development with community benefit (e.g. community infrastructure and key services).


Our role within the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA

The Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) has delegated plan preparation and development assessment powers to us. EDQ worked with us, state agencies and the community to prepare the development scheme which will be used to guide future development outcomes within the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA.


Assessment of development applications

The declaration of the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA will increase opportunities and certainty, provide clarity for residential and commercial development, and direct private investment and the development of the Railway Parklands area.

Development assessment powers have been delegated from the Queensland Government to us. A development application within the Railway Parklands PDA must be lodged with us, and will be assessed under the Toowoomba Railway Parklands PDA Development Scheme and the Economic Development Act 2012. The application will be subject to time frames established under the The Economic Development Act 2012. There is:

  • emphasis on pre-application discussions to minimise information requests
  • no code or impact assessment
  • no state agency referrals
  • no negotiated decision
  • no third party appeal rights.

Please find the forms for lodgement of a PDA development application below:

Development - Toowoomba Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA) application form APP 033 (online)

Development - Toowoomba Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (PDA) application form APP 033 (for print)

Building applications will continue to be assessed under the Planning Act 2016 which provides for private building certification.

Exploring opportunities for the Toowoomba CBD and the Railway Parklands Priority Development Area (Toowoomba Central Area) 

The Missing Middle incorporates a range of housing types including shop-top living, apartments, townhouses, terraces and duplexes that meet growing residential demand and create the opportunity for walkable urban living.  

The purpose of the Missing Middle forum delivered by Toowoomba Regional Council was to bring together property and development site owners, developers, investors, architects, and representatives of government and professional services to discuss the opportunities, challenges and priorities for further developing the Missing Middle residential product in the Toowoomba central area.

At the time of the 2016 ABS Census, the Toowoomba central area was home to 2,300 usual residents, or just 1.4% of the region’s total population.

When benchmarked against other similar sized centres, the Toowoomba Region has a smaller percentage of residents living in the CBD. For example:

  • Wollongong CBD had a population of 12,429 or 6.1% of the local government population
  • Newcastle CBD had a population of 8,214 or 5.3% of the local government population.

A significant opportunity exists to grow the resident population within the Toowoomba central area, further supporting the retail and business community, night time and visitor economies.     

Wollongong focused on increasing residential density through apartment development. This development supported residential population growth and growth in the number of CBD workers, with retail trade growing significantly as a result.

The Toowoomba CBD and PDA are also the locations of a wide range of historical, heritage and character buildings, providing significant opportunities for building repurposing, including for shop-top conversions.

Forum presenters:

Malcolm Middleton, Queensland Architect (Queensland Government)

Andrew Quain (Toowoomba Regional Council)

Stephen Bowers (President UDIA Toowoomba)

Chris Gay (Toowoomba Architects Group)

Katie Knight (REIQ Toowoomba Zone Chair)

View and listen to a summary of the presentations from Malcolm, Chris and Katie and view the key points captured by the graphic artist at the forum.

Click on images to enlarge

Missing middle forumMissing middle forumMissing middle forumMissing middle forum

For further information, please contact Andrew Quain, Principal Commercial Development by phone 07 4688 6932 or email

To receive regular email updates on the progress of the PDA please indicate your interest by emailing us at 

Railway Parklands artists impression