New Housing Proposed at Historic Dixon’s Tannery Site in West End

Dixon's tannery
Photo credit: Cottee Parker

A new residential development is being proposed for the former site of Dixon’s Tannery, a heritage-listed tannery in West End.

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The project calls for constructing an 84-unit, 10-storey apartment tower on the site of Dixon’s Tannery at 439 Montague Road, whilst preserving the original 19th century tannery building.

Dixon’s Tannery History

Dixon’s Tannery brick factory building was originally constructed in 1893 by Thomas Coar Dixon, after an earlier tannery was destroyed in Brisbane floods that year. 

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For nearly eight decades, Dixon’s Tannery played a major role in the industrial development of South Brisbane before closing in 1970. The well-known leather production business was an influential commercial enterprise in the area during the early 20th century.

Dixons tannery
Staff at Dixon’s Tannery, date unknown (Photo credit: Kate Priest/

To maintain the heritage integrity of the site, the new residential development proposal calls for preserving the original 19th century Dixon’s Tannery structure, whilst demolishing a later westward extension from the early 1900s.  

Tower Ad
Site (Photo credit: Google Street View)

“Through the proposed development there remains an intent to celebrate the history of the site through the incorporation of the original building as the main entry and communal space and with inclusion of two exclusive ‘heritage units’. The new building has also been designed to frame the original building and ensure it remains the primary focus of the site,” planners from Urban Strategies stated.


Dixon's tannery
Artist’s impression of ‘The Tannery Residences’ (Photo credit: Cottee Parker)

The proposed development, known as ‘The Tannery Residences’, will contain 84 residential dwellings in total. It is being developed by the construction firm McNab which enlisted Cottee Parker Architects for the design.

There will be 33 two-bedroom units and 51 three-bedroom units included in the 10-storey apartment tower.

Dixon's tannery
Photo credit: Cottee Parker

The design provides ample communal open space, with 1,582 sqm located on the ground floor and rooftop garden.

Parking will consist of 161 spaces, including 149 for residents on levels 1-3, 2 visitor spaces and 2 accessible spaces on level 1.There will also be 105 bicycle parking spots – 84 for residents and 21 for visitors on level 1.

Photo credit: Cottee Parker

Unlike many developments, this project will not include underground basement parking. Instead, parking will be located on the above-ground levels. This decision was made to reduce any potential disturbance to the existing heritage building on the site during construction. 

According to planners, placing parking above ground avoids concerns over soil conditions and possible foundation shifts that excavation could cause. They say this parking approach highlights the thoughtful and considerate way the development aims to integrate with the historic structure. 

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The proposed development’s integration of the new apartment tower and the adapted historic Dixon’s Tannery building highlights the potential for adaptive reuse to connect a site’s past and future. 

If approved, The Tannery Residences would join old and new on a site bearing many eras of West End’s history. 

Published 14-January-2024