Canberra is to have its first five-star Meriton hotel, with plans released for a 16-storey, 250-suite development in Allara Street in the city.
Billionaire developer Harry Triguboff acquired the 1734 square metre corner site at 40 Allara Street from Australian Unity for $23 million in July, saying at the time that going to the national capital was a logical progression for the Meriton Suites brand.
“Canberra long has been on our radar because it’s drawing nearly three million visitors a year,” he said.
The site – fronted by Allara Street, Nangari Street and Rabaul Lane – is occupied by a five-level office building and pedestrian bridge across Nangari Street that will need to be removed.
Meriton is seeking community input on the proposal ahead of a development application.
Plans include a mix of studio, one, two and three-bedroom suites, a penthouse, ground floor retail, a pool and a gym, and a covered entrance for vehicles.
Most of the development (around 70 per cent) will be one-bedroom suites, with 20 per cent two bedrooms and 10 per cent three bedrooms.
Meriton sees the project activating its three street fronts with ground floor retail and commercial opportunities, including at night, and improving pedestrian connectivity.
At ground level, retail and lobby areas will be connected to surrounding public places through a pedestrian colonnade to the site’s three street frontages.
Meriton says this will provide shelter for pedestrians and improve the way the site interacts with the adjoining streetscape.
The first 10 levels will contain one to two-bedroom apartments, including a three-storey podium, while the upper levels will have three-bedroom suites and amenities such as the pool and gym, as well as a garden, juice bar and rooftop green spaces.
Meriton hopes to expand retail and commercial floorspace opportunities, particularly for independent, niche and boutique retail, and create more vibrancy in public places, where landscaping is also planned.
“Civic is the retail core of the city, surrounded by a mix of uses and public spaces. Development in this area will encourage additional independent, niche and boutique activity and support nearby places and active uses along key pedestrian routes,” the plans say.
The project sought to make the centre of Canberra the retail and visitor destination of choice between the CBDs of Melbourne and Sydney.
While there are limited sources of noise near the site at present, the building will include measures to mitigate noise from ground floor and upper-level rooftop activities.
The proposal incorporates a passive solar design to minimise energy consumption and has east and west facing balconies to provide solar shading to apartments and to reduce reliance on energy systems. The design will also aim to conserve water.
Meriton says the site orientation will limit overshadowing on public areas, with diagrams showing minimal effects on the winter solstice at 9:00 am, 12 noon and 3:00 pm.
Meriton Suites general manager Matthew Thomas said in July that Canberra and Melbourne were the chain’s two most requested destinations.
Mr Thomas said the planned hotel was in a precinct that was going through significant regeneration.
“It’s changing to a mixed-use area that will see more ground-level and after-hours activity,” he said. “We see the new ACT Government headquarters, under construction in Constitution Place, as a massive driver for the location.”
Mr Triguboff is the largest hotel owner and apartment operator in Australia, with 4945 suites spread across 19 hotels in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. He is also expanding to Melbourne.
To have your say contact Canberra Town Planning or visit the Meriton website.