160 units in build-to-rent Oaks Stage 3 for Woden

Ian Bushnell 30 December 2020 47
Oaks Stage 3

An artist’s impression of the build to rent tower and three-storey serviced apartments at right. Images: DBI Architects.

The third stage of Amalgamated Property Group’s Oaks development on the former Yamba Sports Club site in Phillip will be a 16-storey, 160-unit tower designed exclusively for rental accommodation.

A development application has been lodged for the $42 million build-to-rent project, which also includes an adjacent three-storey, 18-room serviced apartment complex for visitors.

Amalgamated intends to retain ownership of the development, which will be run by a concierge.

Stage 3 will join two other residential towers on the Oaks site fronting Melrose Drive, with entrances from Irving Street to the rear.

The DA says the proposal offers a different type of housing option for those seeking short-term accommodation and a holistic rental offering with a high level of communal amenity that fosters a community within the development.


READ ALSO: Luxe loves and big houses, the ACT’s property year in review


Build-to-rent investments are popular in the UK and US but are only emerging in Australia. The ACT Government has commissioned a feasibility study into the concept as part of its drive to increase secure and affordable rental accommodation in the ACT. The ACT has some of the highest rents in the country.

”Unlike traditional residential development, the building is fully owned and operated by a commercial operator, allowing for integrated building maintenance and management,” the DA says.

”The development offers a range of typologies to suit sole occupants, couples and families; and due to being managed by a single entity provides the opportunity for its residents to upsize or downsize their housing within the development according to their household and lifestyle needs, rather than having to find different accommodation elsewhere which impacts on social connections and contributes to housing instability – factors which detract from building strong local communities.”

The DA says the development also provides an affordable and accessible housing alternative to homeownership, while enabling residents to share in the communal amenity benefits of the Oaks precinct and the convenience of its location within the Woden Town Centre.

Serviced apartments

The three-storey serviced apartments designed for visitors.

Communal facilities will include a business centre, cinema, rooftop outdoor entertainment space with barbecues and dining areas, a large central lawn terrace with recreation pavilions, vegetable gardens, more barbecue and outdoor dining areas, and outdoor seating.

The concierge will also organise events to foster community within the development, including yoga and personal training sessions on the communal lawn, indoor and outdoor movie nights, special interest clubs and workshops.

The tower’s ground floor comprises lobby and communal spaces, such as the cinema, games room, private dining room and the business centre.

On levels 2 to 15, there will be 11 units per floor, with a mix of one, one plus study, and two-bedroom units serviced by three lifts, with most of the apartments facing north.

On the top floor, there will be a mix of six one, two and three-bedroom units, and amenities such as a lounge, covered barbecue pavilion and open landscape terrace.

A total of nine accessible rooms are to be provided across the development.


READ ALSO: Peter Garrett speaks of urgent need to reduce horse numbers


The second building is sited to the north and set back from Melrose Drive and Irving Street. It comprises a lobby, multipurpose space, lounge and nine rooms, with five having private courtyards.

A two-level basement car park will have 168 spaces.

It will also include bicycle storage and building services. Access will be via a two-way ramp connected to the entry driveway crossing Irving Street.

The Oaks development is named for two registered trees on the site that will be retained. The site was once owned by the Eddison family who lost three sons in World War II. A plaque at the base of one of the oaks commemorates their sacrifice.

When completed, the Oaks will be a three-tower, landscaped precinct with a range of community facilities.


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47 Responses to 160 units in build-to-rent Oaks Stage 3 for Woden
HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:11 pm 01 Jan 21

In a world where the cost of finance has never been lower, and other investments are looking increasingly bubbly/risky, reaping long-term increases in land values (and thus rents) in strategic locations is obviously a very smart option for developers. Likewise smart to get all tenants to pay for facilities and services they all might not need or want, or always be able to afford – this is like another (fully privatised) level of government.

Whether it will prove to be so smart for people who might otherwise have been able to buy (particularly those optimists who think they’re only moving to Canberra for a few years…….) is another matter. As tenants of public housing know all-too-well, there’s also the sticky question of what happens to the “communities” which develop in such buildings when the building is eventually (and inevitably) found to be no longer “fit for purpose” – something which probably tends to happen around the time that zoning rules change to allow many more apartments to be put on the same parcel of land.

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 6:15 pm 01 Jan 21

Great location for such a development, being right near the future light rail line.

    George Watling George Watling 12:39 pm 02 Jan 21

    Bill Gemmell Great then they can pay for it because I don't think anyone who doesn't live a along it tiny little corridors should. What giant waste of money. We're now subsiding the Build to Rent crowd.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:43 pm 02 Jan 21

    George Watling you clearly treat the provision of modern transport infrastructure as being the equivalent of community transmission of Covid 19

    George Watling George Watling 12:49 pm 02 Jan 21

    Electric buses are cheaper and more efficient.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:50 pm 02 Jan 21

    George Watling and share the existing roadway with Australia's worst drivers

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:54 pm 02 Jan 21

    George Watling you always hate facts

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:58 pm 02 Jan 21

    George Watling many insurance company annual reports. Also look at the published injury statistics - it is a scandal

Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 2:49 pm 01 Jan 21

In a country the size of Australia with a population less than half of the UK there’s no reason people should be living on top off each other like sardines

    Gem Gemm Gem Gemm 10:07 am 02 Jan 21

    Okay, you go live hours out of the city, then try to work fulltime, study face to face part time, then keep on top of life and stay holistically healthy. Get with the times.

    Cities are densely populated for a REASON. It's not just some coincidence.

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:59 am 01 Jan 21

Sounds great, as long as the facilities mentioned eventuate. A great alternative for those who are renting. I like it that vegetables gardens are included. That could help foster friendships, rather like community gardens.

Alice Paris Alice Paris 11:31 am 01 Jan 21

Well well well how quickly we are transitioning to the real agenda of the compact city. This will be the legacy of the GReens/Labor government in the ACT the disenfranchisement of the very people they have been enticing to vote for them. No home ownership/ assets for you and therefore no say no stake in how your community works and the quality of life it provides. Instead escalating rental prices, an electric scooter and low quality industrial food. Bruin Christensen

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:03 pm 01 Jan 21

    Alice Paris Sounds like you are against choice and variety. Everyone doesn't have to own a home, but they still can. A compact city is better than continuing the spread to Cooma, Yass and beyond. When I used to rent I would have loved this, especially with the mentioned facilitates such as vegetable gardens.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 12:13 pm 01 Jan 21

    Alice Paris Yes, this is quite right. Unfortunately, people simply do not understand what is going on. They do not see that phenomena like "build-to-rent" are classic expressions and symptoms of the increasing intrusion of mega-finance into real estate - see in this connection Rolnik, Stein, Marcuse and Madden, Harvey and countless others. And they continue to believe (as our silly Greens continue to believe) that the vertical sprawl we are getting now is inherently sustainable, when in fact, due to mega-volumes of concrete and asphalt, large expanses of hard surfaces and, often forgotten, vast amounts of construction waste, it is not. Nor do the amounts of energy and water consumed by high-rise dwellers differ significantly from residents of much-maligned horizontal sprawl.

    A vast amount of education and political agitation needs to be undertaken to refute these kinds of simplistic dogma - the kind of thinking which leads your previous commentator to claim that a compact city is better than spreading to Cooma, Yass and beyond - AS IF THE COMPACT CITY WERE THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE. This is how the developers and their lickspittles in government work: they present the matter as if we could only choose the direction of sprawl.

    Things would be better if Australians did not have a regrettable tendency EITHER to insist that Australian cities are so different from everywhere else that we cannot learn from abroad; OR simply mindlessly to promote a few simple slogans learnt while on a brief trip to Europe as the key to making Canberra a second Copenhagen - as Rattenbury once said.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 12:16 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin Nothing said by Alice Paris speaks against choice. Quite the contrary: one of the keys to addressing what is going on would be a defence of real choice, i.e., the promotion of whole suite of housing options. And your claim that everyone can still own a home is quite wrong. If you like, I can provide you with data from numerous authors writing on cities all around the world - for the problem of housing affordability is NOT a uniquely Australian problem, but a global problem with global causes - which shows how housing affordability has dropped and is continuing to drop across the generations.

    On the issue of housing and housing affordability I would strongly recommend Keith Jacob´s "Neoliberal Housing Policy-An International Perspective," Routledge 2019.

    George Watling George Watling 12:20 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin 'Housing Choices' and claims that a high density city will end land clearing for housing developments is right out of the global development handbook. Its the same stuff that's been spouted in every over developed city in Australian and around the world. Its propaganda and misleading. You know even though the ACT Government espouses urban infill and building a compact city it has still approved the end to end development of the Molongolo valley.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:56 pm 01 Jan 21

    George Watling No it won't end land clearance for new houses, but it will decrease it.

    George Watling George Watling 1:25 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin Why do you say that? Where in Canberra has the government's urban infill and high density housing also slowed land clearing? Its what you saying based on evidence or wishful thinking? I'd love to see more high rises around town centres if it would save our suburban greens spaces and the woodlands of the Molongolo but the buggers in the ACT Greens/Labor Alliance want the have it both ways. They want unhealthy and expensive high density development in the suburbs and town centres and mirco block fill the block cheek by jowl developments built over the whole of the Molongolo.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 2:44 pm 01 Jan 21

    Alice Paris Yes, this is dead right. People at Fenner are doing similar research and looking at the eco-impacts of cities not naively in terms of how they affect their geographic area, i.e., their location, but how they impact, via global supply chains, vast swathes of the planet. Thus, we know that WA water and nutrients end up being flushed down the numerous toilets of Japanese mega-cities, where it causes all sorts of problems locally and constitutes a depletion of Australian resources.

    And of course these issues are not necessarily affected one way or the other by mere urban form. What affects these issues is the sheer volume of material and energy throughput which each city represents. Here we see the really positive lesson to be taken from this kind of research: the naive focus on urban form ("High density = good, low density = bad") reflects a technocratic conception of the city which is used, sometimes deliberately, by powerful interests to mask the essentially political character of urban development.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:26 pm 01 Jan 21

    Bruin Christensen The amount of sewage will not be more if people are living in high rise rather than single house blocks; it's the number of people. A million people still create the same amount of sewage, whether flushing the toilets in a high rise, or in single house dwellings. If we have to put up with this insane amount of population rise, it's better to condense the city, both from the cost savings and efficiency of public transport, roads, etc, and to slow the creep into the surrounding bushland and farmland.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:28 pm 01 Jan 21

    George Watling I don't have to name an area. It's obvious that if people live in multi-storey units that will mean less land clearance than if the same number of people all live in single house blocks of say 500 sq metres. Do the maths.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:32 pm 01 Jan 21

    Bruin Christensen This is another choice that is being offered. The mere fact that Alice Paris spoke out against this one example, indicates she speaks against choice, as she speaks against this option. It's being offered for the first time; it's a choice. Give it a chance.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 4:38 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin I really do not understand this comment. I have not asserted that the amount of sewage will be more. Nor does anything I have said entail that I believe in uncontrolled population rise. And in order to deal with population rise - which we will probably have to, at least in the medium term - , there are ways other than what you call condensation, i.e., densification, for example, a consistently and nationally endorsed strategy of regionalisation. There are, after all, dozens of smaller towns and regional centres crying out for people even as places like Melbourne and Sydney are, to quote Peter Seamer, at breaking point population-wise. The sheer inability of all political parties - and here I hold the Greens particularly responsible since this really should be their baby, something about which they ought to have something really interesting and novel to say - to man up to the issue of population and growth generally as calling for a nation-wide, all-of-country strategy of regionalisation testifies to the hold the speculative interests have them in their grip.

    There is one interesting point to make about sewerage: in the enthusiasm for densification and the compact city most advocates persistently overlook the enormous costs of retrofitting appropriate infrastructure for higher densities. This is particularly true of sewerage and water supply, where established infrastructure has to be significantly reworked, i.e., enlarged.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 4:43 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin No, it is not at all obvious. It seems obvious but when one investigates it, it is not. For the impacts of people and cities on the environment beyond them is much more complex than simply the occupation of space. Thus, one positive effect of the low density of Canberra has been the way in which it has provided refuges for some - unfortunately, by no means all - species. Another is the reduction of dry land salinity: one reason why this is less a problem in Canberra than in more rural areas like Yass is that Canberra has promoted green space and trees in the urban environment.

    The conviction that in order to protect wildlife, nature, etc., we have to get people out of it is a recipe for failure. We need to be dispersing people more evenly through the environment, not locking up so-called wild areas and cramming people into urban spaces to the point where some parts of Melbourne have, as Leanne Hoddle has pointed out, densities higher than Hong Kong.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:58 pm 01 Jan 21

    Bruin Christensen Having been to Hong Kong, I very much doubt that is true, unless a very, very small part of Melbourne is compared to a large area of Hong Kong. As for people moving to regional centres, fine, but they can't be made, and unless building of new places stopped in cities, the population needs to be housed. And if limits to the population were made, imagine the price of housing then. https://www.google.com/search?q=Hong+Kong+crowded+housing&client=firefox-b&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZoKHmhvrtAhVpyDgGHZnZBCYQ_AUoAXoECAIQAw&biw=1570&bih=958#imgrc=cHCU8A83UO26WM

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 5:11 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin Report by Leanne Hodyl – 2014 Churchill Fellow

    To investigate planning policies that deliver positive social outcomes in

    hyper-dense, high-rise residential environments.

    From the executive summary:

    "High-rise apartment towers are being built in central Melbourne at four times the maximum densities allowed in Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo – some of the highest density cities in the world."

    I can provide you with the full text if you like.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 5:17 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin Of course they cannot be made and nothing I have said amounts to any recommendation that they be made. In fact, people reside in Sydney and Melbourne because of access to employment, services and amenities. If these could be provided in regions and/or access to them made possible by appropriate transport links, e.g., moderately fast regional rail (as recommended, incidentally, by the Rail Institute in explicit opposition to Albo´s enthusiasm for highly expensive, environmentally destructive intercapital high speed rail), then there is every reason to think that people would embrace regionalisation.

    A recent report by Wintons, as I recall, commissioned by the ACT government, discovered that some 91% of people wanted a house-and-garden package, NOT a Geocon flat. Regionalisation would enable them to have this at much lower price. (Incidentally, when the government read the report, it sat on it. It did not fit with Barr´s story about how so many people want to live in cool apartments in cool CBR - the airport designation, by the way.)

    George Watling George Watling 5:59 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin Population Growth in Canberra is low. There is no pop boom here. Its 1 to 2 % pa and half of that are newborns who wont need their own place 18 to 20 years. 😊

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:04 pm 01 Jan 21

    Australian cities are some of the least dense cities in the world. From a google, Canberra has a population of 457,330 (2020) and an area of 814.2 square kilometres In comparison, Greater London at 1,569 km² has a population of 9,176,530 (2020). I am amazed that Melbourne would have greater density living than those photographic examples I gave of Hong Kong. Is Melbourne building so called "coffin cubicles" that Hong Kong has?

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 7:03 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin So what? Firstly, although they are amongst the least dense cities, the difference to the European average, as opposed to cities like London and to a less extent Berlin, is not as great as people think. For example, Zürich is only about 20% denser than Canberra. Secondly, the crucial question is not how dense Australian cities are but how important this is as a factor in sustainabiity, public transport viability, etc. Once again this is not as crucial as is commonly maintained, at least here in Australia. The text to read on these issues is Paul Mees´ "Transport for Suburbia."

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 7:11 pm 01 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin In places Melbourne is building coffin cubicles. Crucially also it is not building apartments for the whole of life but, as elsewhere in Australia, e.g., here in Canberra, it is building apartments for youngish professionals, singles and dinks, between the ages of 25 and 40 because this is all about catering to investors, not providing housing. Peter Mares ("No place like Home") quotes research estimating "dead" apartments - ones chronically vacant, bought simply in anticipation of price rises or used as a safe deposit box - in Melbourne at around 5%.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 7:18 pm 01 Jan 21

    George Watling One needs to be careful here. Although growth has tapered off, some years back it has been quite high, e.g., I think I read somewhere that at one stage Gungahlin was one of the fastest growing places in Australia. This kind of thing has been ruthlessly used by Barr and his developer mates to argue that we had to perform a "knockdown-rebuild" on all of Canberra. Recall his dismissive attacks on the Bush Capital, also to be found in a notorious Geocon promotional video - and his attacks on older people, i.e., his claim that he did not want to talk to people over 40. In fact, Barr and Co. misrepresent what even younger Canberrans want, as is shown by the Winton report, which the government commissioned but suppressed because it did not want to annouce that some 91% of potential buyers wanted a house-and-garden package, not a cool apartment. Otherwise I agree with you.

    Bruin Christensen Bruin Christensen 7:19 pm 01 Jan 21

    George Watling It is extraordinary how little and how bad the evidence is which compact city advocates provide.

    Krishna Rao Krishna Rao 6:33 am 02 Jan 21

    Julie Macklin well said!

Martin Miller Martin Miller 11:12 am 31 Dec 20

There are rules in the variation 344 that limit the number of 12 plus 4 storeys buildings per block. Which is only 1. Amalgamated have exploited this as has Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development by letting them split the block in smaller blocks, thus allowing them to get the 12 plus 4 on each building when it was only 1. What a great planning system we have! Mick Gentleman MLA Chris Steel MLA ACT Government

    Gem Gemm Gem Gemm 12:37 pm 31 Dec 20

    So what's the real issue? Are you against affordable housing and fostering community?

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 1:21 pm 31 Dec 20

    @GemGemm, are you familiar with the now demolished Bega Court? That was a charming public housing estate that crammed em in too. It had facilities such as dirty fits in the common laundry. My then 15 y/o daughter had been doing her own washing since she was 8 years old, which I forbade her to do while we lived there. Most people aren’t against affordable housing; the problem is no or ill-considered facilities and services, compounding disadvantage and enhancing the misery of the people that live there. But if commenter could answer your question that also would be swell.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:57 am 01 Jan 21

    Bek Clark Doesn't appear you bothered the read the article before commenting.

Valerie Foster Valerie Foster 10:22 am 31 Dec 20

Looking really ugly in Canberra nowadays with all the high rise

    Klug Northern James Klug Northern James 10:37 am 31 Dec 20

    Valerie Foster get use to it

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 1:14 pm 31 Dec 20

    You’re right. Let’s fill the lake in and bulldoze all the green space. There. Fixed it for ya.

    Valerie Foster Valerie Foster 2:54 pm 31 Dec 20

    The rate the government is going it will be happening in the future

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 6:45 pm 31 Dec 20

    Used to be beautiful car parks everywhere!

    Matt Williams Matt Williams 7:55 pm 31 Dec 20

    Totally agree with you Valerie.

    George Watling George Watling 11:24 am 01 Jan 21

    Klug Northern James or lobby and vote against it. If no one says anything then we deserve what we get.

    George Watling George Watling 12:25 pm 01 Jan 21

    Bek Clark Building over green spaces is definitely on the agenda for the new government. The list of green spaces they have built on and want to build on is getting longer and longer. There is Bill Kennedy Memorial park in Holder, the Kippax ovals, the Tuggeranong lakeshore along Drakeford between Athllon and Erindale Drives, Darwinia Park in Chapman, the Turner green space along Sullivan’s Creek, the Lawson grass lands, the volcanic boulders area in Ainslie, the Coomb’s peninsular, Coolo park in Weston, the nature reserve next to the Shakespeare Crescent Bus terminus in Fraser, the Lake Ginninderra foreshore long Aikman Drive between Townsend Place and Ginninderra drive, Bill Pye Park in Ainslie, and the Curtain paddocks. Barr's urban infill really is a cancer killing Canberra.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:36 am 02 Jan 21

    Bek Clark Green space around here is either for apartments or bogan parking. Archaeologists studying the abandoned city post the climate change apocalypse will shrug their shoulders at the abject stupidity.

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