The $300 million Constitution Place development in the city has reached a new construction milestone with the 12th and final floors of the complex being completed, and the project now due to be finished and ready for occupation in early November.
Under way for four years, the project has weathered the COVID-19 storm to be essentially on track despite supply chain disruption and social distancing requirements.
The transformational development includes a 12-storey building with a 130-room Adina hotel and offices, a five-storey ACT Government office block, basement public car park, and a distinctive retail laneway between the two buildings, connecting Constitution Avenue with the Canberra Theatre.
Last year the Snow family’s Capital Property Group had to halt construction for a design review. At that time the project was slated for mid-2020 finish.
But Head of Property, Canberra Airport, Richard Snow says the company is fortunate this year that COVID-19 restrictions did not shut down the construction industry, although early on there were issues obtaining materials from China and the state border closures had affected the supply of some specialised trades.
This, along with protocols that needed to be implemented on site including temperature checks, had affected productivity slightly but the project is still looking at a November finish, ”where we thought we’d be in February”.
The company has also virtually future-proofed the project from the economic impacts of coronavirus, by locking in its office tenants – King & Wood Mallesons, Minter Ellison, KPMG, Dixon Advisory – 18 months ago, and none had sought any change in their leases.
”We wanted to lift the bar on architectural standards and create something quite special for the city and I think the tenants responded to that,” Mr Snow said.
Constitution Pace is a gold-rated WELLs and 5-star NABERS energy-rated precinct that sets a precedent for all future development in the city, he said.
Last November, the company secured restaurant chain The Meat & Wine Co, health and fitness provider Club Lime, childcare group Montessori Academy and Hero Sushi for the precinct.
Mr Snow said there would be a significant amount of food and beverage in the laneway to create a vibrant dining area, as well as to service the hotel which won’t have any restaurants or bars of its own.
COVID uncertainty had pushed out the retail opening to February but Mr Snow expected the entire precinct to be up and running by then.
Mr Snow said it probably would have been easier to just create an office precinct but the company wanted to create a vibrancy around the clock and enliven a part of the city which has struggled to get much activity.
”The idea of the whole precinct is to try and get a mixture of different uses in there,” Mr Snow said.
”We didn’t want to just have an office development and at night time there is no one around.”
”You’ll have the day time working population, the hotel which will feed the afters hours food and beverage area, a big public car park underneath and proximity to the theatre.”
”You can park your car, get a meal, go to the theatre and come back through the laneway after the theatre and grab a late meal, beer or wine.”
Mr Snow believes the development will have flow-on effects for the eastern part of the city.
”You’re going to have a development there that’s going to have 3,500 people in it every day in that part of town, which is then plugging to the Canberra Centre, the theatre precinct and Civic Square,” he said.
”It’s also the first private sector development to be completed in between London Circuit and Vernon Circle. This infilling between those two areas of the city is going to really add to that density.”