The History of Teneriffe

Breaking news! Teneriffe has just been named Brisbane’s 2019 ‘Most Expensive Suburb’ as rated by The Open Agent. After years of working its way up the property ladder, Teneriffe is now officially the leader in Brisbane’s upcoming real estate market. How did this come about? Well the answer is simple – marketing. Prior to a suburb-wide refurbishment, Teneriffe was an industrial jungle not suited to upmarket family living at all.

After declaring a city-wide urban renewal project that was finalised by 2000, Teneriffe saw its famous Woolstores be converted into apartments and office spaces (like the one we’re located inside here at Evolve), a number of refurbishments to the river including boardwalks and ferry terminals as well as 730 hectares of industrial land development (Atkin, 2018).

Woolstore building in Teneriffe, Queensland in 2019
Credit: Evolve Marketing

The numbers show that in 2001, the suburb’s population was approximately 2,000 and 15 years later, had risen over double to 5,335 (ABS, 2016). Likewise according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, the median monthly housing repayments were between $900 and $2,000 per month – rising to over $4,000 in 2016.

30 years ago, this was a different story. In 1975, Teneriffe was so bleak that the Queensland Government removed it as a suburb entirely – calling the area in which Evolve Marketing stands, part of our neighbouring suburb Newstead. Continuing to decline in popularity, Teneriffe in 1990 was lined with crumbling riverbeds from all the dredging during the war periods, and the area was simply a smoke-filled dump for Brisbane’s wool, timber and coal yards (Queensland Places, 2018).  The people of Australia including Brisbanites themselves, would talk about the lacklustre attitudes and general shortage in appeal of the whole suburb (keep this in mind, it’s important later). It was commonly known that Australia’s elite would live in our sister-towns, as they were the places booming with culture, vibrance and aesthetic.

So, how did Teneriffe really go from zero to hero? Well, it’s simple. Capital Growth refers to the increase of value in a property portfolio over time and we can apply this to the growth of Teneriffe as a suburb – but what is more important here is the shift in consumer attitudes towards living in Teneriffe. Taking a page from the way marketing professionals can rebrand a business, Teneriffe was given a new life by gentrifying the streets, facilities and community space. Upon educating the marketplace of the council’s new valiant investment in the area, our previously unenthused and outspoken Brisbanenites changed their stance and in marketing terms, improved the word-of-mouth surrounding Teneriffe.

Woolstore building in Teneriffe, Queensland in 1928
Credit: State Library of Queensland, John Oxley Library

As consumers value opinions expressed directly to them, the Neilson Report suggests that 92% of consumers will believe suggestions from their family and friends more than advertising. Harnessing these laws of word of mouth, the Brisbane City Council of yesteryear plastered the town with newspapers and signage with their plans to upgrade, whilst the construction sites acted as their very own billboards for the case. Teachers, doctors, restaurant-owners flocked to be the first professionals to set up shop at the new and improved (and still relatively cheap at this point) area, and it was those ever-faithful risk takers that invested their time, money and individual marketing ventures to guide the suburbs growth into an iconic Brisbane landmark.  As marketers, what we can take away from this Cinderella story is knowing what your consumer thinks of your product, service or in this case suburb, when it is important to change that and how to educate them on your new market presence.

With outlook for the future, the once rundown area of Teneriffe is the hot contender to become Brisbane’s first area with a $3 million house median price, having grown over 71.8% in the last four years alone (Mata, 2017). Proving the power of word of mouth, the urban renewal project is working its way across Brisbane building up a number of now popular precincts such as Howard Smith Wharves, Northshore Parklands and the Kurilpa area.