A ‘sleek’, 72 metre high, 24-storey marker building on the corner of Launceston Street and Melrose Drive is the feature of Geocon’s massive WOVA (WOden reVAmped) development on the former Woden Tradies site in Phillip.
The development application says Geocon will demolish the existing buildings and construct four separate mixed-use buildings ranging in height from 10 to 24 storeys on the one hectare site bounded by Melrose Drive, Launceston Street and Furzer Street.
The $400 million development – designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects and Oculus Urban Design, the team behind the NewActon precinct – will have 798 residential apartments, ground floor retail and commercial spaces, community use areas, four levels of basement parking and a green spine of landscaped public open spaces.
The marker building will provoke debate about the scale of the development and overshadowing but Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis says there has been an unprecedented level of community consultation and high-rise buildings should be expected and welcomed in the Woden Town Centre.
“Through our extensive community consultation we know some people have issues with height and overshadowing, but we also know from the research than more than three-quarters of Canberrans agree that ‘density makes sense in Canberra’s town centres rather than in the suburbs, as long as it is designed by world-leading architects rather than ad hoc second-rate developments’,” he said.
“Concerns about height and overshadowing next to town centres is like buying a place near an airport then complaining about aircraft noise.”
Mr Georgalis said WOVA, along with Grand Central Towers to the east, would breathe new life into the area and energise the town centre, creating new jobs and lifestyle opportunities while supporting existing businesses and community groups.
“In the 1970s, Woden was booming. It was a thriving hub of Public Service and retail activity. Since then, Woden has lagged seriously behind other town centres like Belconnen and Gungahlin. To the south, Tuggeranong’s resurgence has also outstripped Woden. People think the area is tired, run-down and lacking vibrancy,” he said.
Mr Georgalis said a feature of the development was the focus on public spaces for the community including extensive landscaping, public art, and planned links to other parts of the Town Centre. “There will be space for pop-up activities like street markets and family entertainment,” he said.
The four buildings proposed are:
- 24-storey marker building at the corner of Launceston Street and Melrose Drive, with a maximum height of 72 metres (excluding parapets and plant), 18 metres less than nearby Lovett Tower.
- 10-storey building to the east of the marker building fronting Launceston Street, with a maximum height of 30 metres (excluding parapets and plant).
- 16-storey building at the corner of Launceston Street and Furzer Street, with a maximum height of 49.6 metres (excluding parapets and plant).
- 16-storey building located towards the south-east corner of the site with a frontage to Furzer Street, with a maximum height of 48.6 metres (excluding parapets)
At ground level, there will be five retail tenancies, two commercial/community use tenancies, three food and beverage tenancies and public space through site links from the corner of Melrose Drive and Launceston Street.
Geocon says the 10.194 square metre site area includes 1600 square metres of commercial/retail space, 4200 square metres of communal/public open space, 991 car spaces, 100 bicycle spaces and 798 apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms and Soho style.
Vehicles will enter from Melrose Drive and Furzer Street to access the basements levels, and the buildings will be serviced by vehicles from the Melrose Drive and Furzer Street frontages.
The DA says “cars and service vehicles, while important to meet the day-to-day functioning of the development are treated as secondary to pedestrian and cycle movement. A bicycle hub with end of trip facilities is provided to encourage alternate modes of transport”.
Six verge trees will be removed and 40 trees will be removed inside the block, five of which are regulated. The 13 street trees planted along Launceston Street will be protected and retained.
The public landscaped areas will include new trees to provide shade and amenity throughout the site for pedestrians, as well as grassed areas, planting beds, paving and seating.
Walkways will connect each of the public streets in and around the site.
For residents, there will be terraced gardens and landscaped balconies in three of the buildings, with one connecting to lounge areas, kitchens and a gymnasium.
Pending approval of the development application, Stage 1 is likely to be released to the market in the second half of 2018, with construction likely to commence in 2019.
To view the DA go here.