The building now known as TCB was constructed in stages from 1902 as a department store operated by Thomas Charles Beirne, an Irish draper.
The historic TC Beirne Centre was the original department store ‘emporium' constructed in Fortitude Valley. It grew from small beginnings to a large and complex arrangement of buildings. It was the second most important centre for shopping behind the central city and remained so for many years.
By the early twentieth century, the business of the Valley was based on drapers and their large department stores - the major players being TC Beirne, James McWhirter, Overells and ACB Drapers.
The intersection of Wickham and Brunswick Streets was where Fortitude Valley business was concentrated. It was commonly known as the ‘Valley Corner'.
Thomas Charles Beirne was born in Ireland in 1860. In the early 1880s he emigrated to Australia where he first lived in Victoria, before relocating to Queensland. In September 1891 Beirne opened his new business in a former grocery store on the south-western side of Brunswick Street. His business flourished and the store expanded into adjacent tenancies.
When building owners refused Beirne's request to adapt the tenancies into one larger store, he bought the entire building in 1897.
By this time James McWhirter, a Scottish draper, had come to work for Beirne as general manager. McWhirter became a partner in the business but later left and opened his own notable Valley department store across Brunswick Street. Beirne believed that the rivalry between the two stores over the years helped make the Valley the shopping destination that it became.
By 1900 Beirne had 150 employees in the store. Despite the alterations done in 1897 to improve floor space these were not sufficient to keep up with his growing business.
In 1901 Beirne engaged architects Hall & Dods to carry out further work. The new premises for TC Beirne were three storeys to Brunswick Street. Beirne remained in charge of his store until the late 1940s.
In 1961 national retail store David Jones acquired TC Beirne and Co. The store remained operating under its original name but was rebadged as a David Jones store in 1966.
As a shopping precinct the Valley experienced a slow decline from the 1970s when large suburban shopping centres took away most of its traditional customers.
In January 1973 David Jones closed its doors at Brunswick Street and the TC Beirne Centre was adapted to house a variety chain store called Target. The ground floor area was adapted for retail with the upper levels converted to commercial tenancies.
The site was sold to new owners in 1982 and again in 1987 and redeveloped for office and retail use in 1994. This included an Asian supermarket in Duncan Street and offices of Brisbane City Council on the floors above.
Forwin International Investments acquired the TCB site in May 2003. Leading Brisbane architects, Arkhefield, were commissioned to design the edgy new centre that you see today.