Has Brisbane reached its peak already?
BRISBANE'S CBD may have peaked - at 274.3m - unless the council can convince regulators and the airport that taller buildings will not affect aviation safety.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate hopes his city's height advantage can be exploited, predicting that by 2043 the Glitter Strip could have a tower to rival the world's tallest - Dubai's 830m Burj Khalifa.
The prospect of Brisbane's skyline turning into a flat-top over the next quarter century is a concern in some circles, as 274.3m is the point at which Mayor Graham Quirk's vision collides with a Federal Government regulation limiting CBD building heights.
The Department of Infrastructure's declaration of airspace gives air traffic controllers a 300-metre buffer above Brisbane to help manage planes flying into the airport.
But Mr Quirk wants some of the 50 skyscrapers he believes will be built in the coming decades to push as high as 300m, and he is confident it can be done without compromising safety.
"Brisbane's CBD skyline has the potential to accommodate buildings of a greater height than the current maximum of 274m, and it is important that we have a broader discussion about this opportunity, to avoid missing out on economic investment and local jobs," he said.
But a department spokeswoman said changes to building heights could "diminish the economic efficiency of the airport, which is a critical infrastructure hub for Queensland".
"Such changes at Brisbane Airport could also potentially contribute to flight cancellations and delays across the country in bad weather; and additional aircraft noise (if flight paths are diverted away from CBD," she said.
"Brisbane City Council has been unable to show that further changes to increase the building height limit would not have significant impacts on the safety, efficiency and regularity of air transport."
Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said planes would have to take off and land "almost vertical" if buildings were any taller, which was "just not possible".
Less than 100km to the south, Mr Tate has been looking to the skies above Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, where the city plan allows for buildings of unlimited heights. At 321m, Q1 tower is already Australia's tallest.
"This presents our city with the enviable position of being able to attract developments as iconic as the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai," Mr Tate said.
"Brisbane's loss is our gain.''