8 March 2020

$85 million redevelopment planned for Barton's Centenary House

| Ian Bushnell
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19 National Circuit, Barton

An artist’s impression of the new office building planned for 19 National Circuit, Barton. Image: Supplied.

Real estate investment group Cromwell Property Group is planning an $85 million redevelopment of the former Labor Party headquarters, Centenary House, in Barton.

Cromwell says it has lodged a development application for the project which would see the building at 19 National Circuit demolished and replaced by a six-storey office block designed with sustainability and active travel in mind.

It says the new building will consist of 18,000 square metres of A-grade net lettable area (NLA), with average floor plates of 3,200 square metres surrounding an internal atrium designed to promote inter-floor connectivity and natural light.

It will have a ground floor cafe, and basement parking for 225 vehicles, as well as end-of trip facilities for office workers wanting to ride, walk or run to work with up to 136 bicycle spaces, 18 showers and 214 lockers.

Cromwell says the building will be energy efficient and provide a high degree of thermal comfort with the DA targeting a 6-Star NABERS Energy rating, as well as a 6-Star Green Star Design and As-Built v1.3 rating.

Cromwell acquired the 27-year-old four-storey building in 2005 from the Labor Party for more than $30 million. It comprises an NLA of 7,073 square metres.

Cromwell’s Head of Property Bobby Binning said the company had been investing in the ACT for 20 years and the development was well placed to take advantage of the tight Barton leasing market.

“Once complete, the new building will add over 10,000 square metres of additional NLA to our Canberra portfolio,” Mr Binning said.

“Situated within close proximity of Parliament House and other key Federal Government agencies, opposite the National Press Club of Australia, and with hotel accommodation located both adjacent to and across from the site, we are very excited about this opportunity.”

Centenary House under Labor ownership has a controversial history, being the subject of two Royal Commissions over its 15-year leasing arrangement with the Australian National Audit Office. The first under the Keating Government found the rent charged was fair, and the second instigated by the Howard Government saying it was excessive.

The report was critical of several public servants but did not make any findings of corrupt conduct by the Labor Party.

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