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Barr in background as Manuka Oval plan lands

By Charlotte Harper - 17 February 2016 50

ManukaOval

Whether by strategic design or not, the ACT Government has not been closely involved in the reveal this morning of an unsolicited plan by the GWS Giants AFL club and Melbourne property behemoth Grocon to revelop Manuka Oval and its surrounds.

The $800 million redevelopment plan, called Manuka Green (manukagreen.com.au), would feature 4750 new permanent seats to replace temporary seating and standing areas at Manuka Oval, new roofing covering 80 per cent of seating, a landscape upgrade including a new running track linking Manuka Oval to Telopea Park and the Kingston Foreshore, a 4-star hotel, serviced apartments, residential, commercial and retail precincts, a licensed club and up to 450 additional car parking spaces

Grocon plan for Manuka Oval

If Mr Barr’s distance was intentional, then it may have been a smart move. While the plan (see artists’ impressions above and below) was unsolicited, Chief Minister Andrew Barr first flagged a major redevelopment of the site in 2009 and would no doubt welcome the news that a player such as Grocon wants to play a major role.

A design from the Giant's Manuka Oval plan

Mr Barr may not be so keen, however, to face the wrath of the residents of the Inner South in an election year should they react negatively to the plan.

The Chief Minister made few friends in the Inner South last year with his plan to move the Manuka Childcare Centre (pictured below) to the Telopea Park Tennis Courts to make way for a Canberra Services Club/Defence Housing development in Manuka. That plan is no more after extensive lobbying and campaigning by the communities of the school and childcare centre.

MOCCA campaign

The Inner South community is likely to react swiftly to news of a development with the potential for impact on iconic sites such as historic Manuka Pool (pictured below) and leafy Telopea Park, community hubs such as the Manuka Arts Centre (home of ArtSound and PhotoAccess), the Canberra Fire Museum (with its neighbouring former fire station homes), and the Kingston Organic Community Garden behind the Canberra Baptist Church.

Manuka Pool

The parents and friends of Telopea Park School will be watching closely to see whether a further attempt to repurpose its tennis courts or to encroach on its playing fields will ensue, ready to leap into action as they did last year (see campaign material below). No doubt the impact on parking will be a concern for staff and parents too.

Telopea Park School banners

A spokesman for the Giants provided the following response to our question about the impact on the aforementioned sites:

“The site for the proposed development of Manuka Green is the area around the oval excluding the pool, caretaker’s cottage and their setting. The Jack Fingleton scoreboard is proposed to be moved closer to those two buildings while a new landscaped setting of these buildings extends towards the oval to create a new grassed “hill” at the northern end of the oval.

“There is no intention to develop beyond the existing land that surrounds the ground – not in to the tennis courts and park to the west, but the project will be funding off site precinct upgrade works including; a new running track through Telopea park to link Manuka with the Kingston Foreshore, a new grand square at the southern end of the stadium to aid the links between the stadium and Manuka shops, and landscape upgrades at the northern end of the ground to best link the stadium precinct and heritage square surrounding the Manuka Pool to Telopea Park.”

He did not comment on the Manuka Arts Centre but a spokesman for Mr Barr had this to say:

“The intention always was for those arts facilities to move to the dedicated, purpose-built arts facilities being built at the Kingston Foreshore. In that sense, the development of the Arts centre site is OK to consider as part of the broader Oval redevelopment. The Chief Minister has made it very clear though that there wouldn’t be any attempt to move arts facilities out of Manuka until the site at Kingston was ready.

“As part of the consideration of the proposal, we would of course have to speak to anyone using the Manuka Arts Centre.”

The Canberra Services Club would have been seriously impacted by any major plan to redevelop Manuka Oval had its premises adjacent to the Oval not burnt down in 2011. It is currently housed in the former site of the ACT Rugby Union Club in Barton, but seeks to find a more suitable permanent site in time.

SCG Members

The RiotACT has also asked the Giants whether the plan contains a Members section along the lines of those of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground (Members’ pavilion pictured above), and if so, where that seating/facilities for such a section would sit in the plan. Such a move would provide guaranteed annual revenue to fund the upkeep and development of the site as well as building a loyal community around the Oval that would operate world class cricket and AFL events.

The Giants spokesman responded:

“The project includes new dedicated space for elite sports to use as corporate and hospitality spaces but, in addition, the new hotel and club could provide catering and support facilities required to meet the demands of a members section, or something similar. But ultimately this would be a consideration for the community-owned trust that we propose is set up to manage the ground for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.”

The football club will announce details of a design competition for the precinct in coming days according to a statement announcing the proposal which says, “The GIANTS will also hold a design competition, if the ACT Government proceeds with the proposal, with a design brief that is informed by the community’s ideas.”

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50 Responses to
Barr in background as Manuka Oval plan lands
aussielyn 9:49 pm 18 Feb 16

The issue here is not about Manuka Oval as a sporting venue for cricket or Aussie rules. It will not be able to house 18K spectators. I am sure cricket Australia would think the loss of nets a negative but will be quiet in case it jeopardises future funding.

The issue is real estate and transferring govt land to GWS & Grocon, undoubtedly talks would already have been had about waiving Lease Variation charge. The Labour Govt is a soft touch for land deals due to its ties with the Property Council and the CFMEU. The ambit claim will be cut back before the election as it is over the top.

The new Manuka Mall, Hotel and flats will make carparking & traffic worse and have a detrimental effect on existing Manuka shops and residents.

The ACT Govt will say it is in the public interest as rates will be paid once flats are sold!
LDA’s David Dawes has said there are over 13500 flats vacant in the ACT. How long before the bubble bursts? Dodgy builders are being found out by shrewd buyers. Who would want to buy one of these flats with the noise bound to happen? The development at Forrest at the Italian Club/ Forrest Motor Inn Precinct would attract more interest three years down the track.

miz 6:46 pm 18 Feb 16

JC said :

Seems as if this proposal (and that’s all it is) has bipartisan support. So maybe keep the political prejudice and point scoring out of it and discuss the proposal on its actual merits.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/manuka-oval-redevelopment-community-groups-alarmed-at-noise-disruption-traffic-20160217-gmwa1p.html

It could hardly be political prejudice if, as you allege, there is bipartisan support.
Rather, this seems more like government vs. directly affected community (which we have been seeing continually for the last few years). The government is supposed to be the representative of the people. When they stop listening to the people they usually get chucked out.

HiddenDragon 5:44 pm 18 Feb 16

Charlotte Harper said :

I asked a real estate agent based in the area yesterday whether we needed more apartments in Manuka/Kingston and the answer was, unsurprisingly, no.

Not entirely surprised to hear that advice, either. One of the thoughts I had when this proposal was announced was to wonder about the fate of plans from a few years back about a mixed commercial – residential development on the site of the Eyre Street carpark in Kingston. The last I heard, that was going to include another large supermarket – something the Manuka/Kingston area could surely do with if there is to be a further substantial increase in the number of apartments in that area.

transparent 5:27 pm 18 Feb 16

Who are the Grocon private investors?

KentFitch 4:30 pm 18 Feb 16

Paul Costigan said :

Just to add to Charlotte’s comment: I attended the Albert Hall event on Wednesday – for the presentation by David Dawes LDA/Directorate chief. I have several stories to tell about that puzzling evening. One was that there are 13,500 unsold apartments in Canberra.

Wow: ABS estimate there are about 155,000 households in Canberra ( search for “3236.0 – Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2011 to 2036”, download spreadsheet, see ACT table)

So 13,500 apartments is a huge chunk. I guess not all “unsold” are new and empty, that is, some are occupied but “for sale”?

watto23 3:50 pm 18 Feb 16

JC said :

Seems as if this proposal (and that’s all it is) has bipartisan support. So maybe keep the political prejudice and point scoring out of it and discuss the proposal on its actual merits.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/manuka-oval-redevelopment-community-groups-alarmed-at-noise-disruption-traffic-20160217-gmwa1p.html

What you mean some of the previous posters would be happy if the proposal came from the Liberals instead 🙂 Then again the ACT Liberals seem to be great at opposing policies the federal Liberals do support.

Also if apartments are left empty, firstly either idiots are investing in them and not finding rent or don’t care because its negatively geared (a good reason to fix this), or developers have a lot of unsold apartments. This means eventually it will put downward pressure on housing. That is a good thing. Developers are out to make money so they are not developing land to have it unused.

Paul Costigan 12:22 pm 18 Feb 16

Just to clarify – the meeting at the Albert Hall was because it was a Friends of the Albert Hall meeting with a guest speaker. more stories maybe later.

Meanwhile – to stay on topic

I suspect that while the Manuka proposal was unsolicited – it was well known and more likely encouraged from within the LDA/Directorate – but sadly it seems that the proponents could not find the time to at least include the any of the locals in the preliminary concept stage. Yes they do signal that they will be consulting later – but why not start with real engagement at the very first and save everyone time and resources and angst.

So much for the catch cry – Urban Development – Partnerships with the community.

dungfungus 12:07 pm 18 Feb 16

JC said :

Seems as if this proposal (and that’s all it is) has bipartisan support. So maybe keep the political prejudice and point scoring out of it and discuss the proposal on its actual merits.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/manuka-oval-redevelopment-community-groups-alarmed-at-noise-disruption-traffic-20160217-gmwa1p.html

And what are the merits you see, JC?

JC 11:16 am 18 Feb 16

Seems as if this proposal (and that’s all it is) has bipartisan support. So maybe keep the political prejudice and point scoring out of it and discuss the proposal on its actual merits.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/manuka-oval-redevelopment-community-groups-alarmed-at-noise-disruption-traffic-20160217-gmwa1p.html

dungfungus 10:03 am 18 Feb 16

Paul Costigan said :

Just to add to Charlotte’s comment: I attended the Albert Hall event on Wednesday – for the presentation by David Dawes LDA/Directorate chief. I have several stories to tell about that puzzling evening. One was that there are 13,500 unsold apartments in Canberra.

Did you have any trouble parking?
No, I guess not because there is ample free parking across the road in the Hyatt car park.
That is why the meeting was at Albert Hall instead of the ACT Government’s offices in London Circuit where visitors have to pay $2.10 per hour in the evening.
That suggestion that there are thousand of unsold units in Canberra doesn’t surprise me.

Paul Costigan 9:15 am 18 Feb 16

Just to add to Charlotte’s comment: I attended the Albert Hall event on Wednesday – for the presentation by David Dawes LDA/Directorate chief. I have several stories to tell about that puzzling evening. One was that there are 13,500 unsold apartments in Canberra.

dungfungus 8:30 am 18 Feb 16

Charlotte Harper said :

I asked a real estate agent based in the area yesterday whether we needed more apartments in Manuka/Kingston and the answer was, unsurprisingly, no.

Did he also say “now is a good time to buy real estate”? (joke).

Charlotte Harper 8:02 am 18 Feb 16

I asked a real estate agent based in the area yesterday whether we needed more apartments in Manuka/Kingston and the answer was, unsurprisingly, no.

dungfungus 7:48 am 18 Feb 16

No mention of any “serviced apartments” in today’s CT report on this issue.
But 1,000 apartments and 2,000 jobs are stated as the plan.
The spin is on already. It’s the “Brumbies plan” on steroids.
Apparently Barr giving GWS $23 million dollars of ratepayers to play a few token games in Canberra every year isn’t enough.

Masquara 7:23 pm 17 Feb 16

Clear sign that Andrew Barr knows he is on the nose when it comes to anything involving development.

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