THE Redlands is dying but the $2.3 billion Toondah Harbour development could be its saviour, according to a report by The Business of Cities.
The report said the region was behind in productivity, destination development and broad based appeal.
It has not embraced high amenity, medium density mixed use development, especially on the coastal strip.
The report was written by the University College London-based organisation TBoC led by Tim Moonen who spoke via live stream at the Championing Redlands Coast business leaders forum on Wednesday.
TBoC promotes development between business and governments.
The Toondah Harbour residential development proposes a ferry terminal and marina, swimming lagoon, waterfront retail and commercial space, and mixed use housing.
The report said the development could emulate or even surpass places like HafenCity in Hamburg and Greenwich Peninsula in London.
"These similar projects had less going for them than Toondah and are now thriving," Dr Moonen said.
The report found if the Redlands did not adapt its built environment and grow its ambition to serve a broader range of ages, visitors and businesses, it risked a permanently diminished role in the competitive region of south-east Queensland.
Toondah Harbour could attract many year-round eco and cultural tourism jobs due to its proximity to North Stradbroke Island and southern Moreton Bay. Protecting the environment and telling the story of the area's rich history were also important aspects to ensuring a truly world-class project.
Enhancing lifestyle and economic opportunities for locals was a key focus for the project.
Toondah project lead Rabieh Krayem said TBoC had more than 10 years' experience in Australia, supporting leaders and policymakers.
"The project will be sensitive to the area's unique and stunning natural aspects because it is these attributes that make Toondah Harbour such a unique global opportunity," he said.
"We are learning the lessons about best-practice waterfront development from around the world to deliver a truly special project that will enhance the lifestyle locals love while provide new economic and business opportunities for decades to come."
President of Redlands 2030 Steve MacDonald said the cited tourism aspirations of year-round tourism sounded attractive but to date there had been no report of the type of employment that would be generated at Toondah Harbour.
"But 500 jobs as stated is not sufficient to offset the 4500 jobs needed to serve the 8000 new residents living in the apartments. A proper analysis might look at pre and post development employment and not assume that jobs arising from the development are a net increase in employment...the figures show otherwise," he said.
Mr MacDonald said nature based ecotourism integrated into the existing community had appeal but the site was to be a ferry terminal.
"These are noisy industrial areas, not benign relaxed holiday venues. Most of the apartments will likely be used for residential use...a flow on is traffic and lifestyle activities of residents not tourists.
"Inherent conflicts are apparent given Toondah is a working port and acts as a conduit to Straddie not an end in itself," he said.
He said existing residents in proximity to the development could expect noise and traffic increases above trend growth.
"Over 30 000 vehicle movements per day...a major disruption along all roads leading to the site," he said.