9 July 2023

Belconnen town centre release to deliver 400-plus homes

| Ian Bushnell
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labelled satellite view of the Belconnen Village site

The Belconnen Village site is one of a number being sold to revitalise the town centre. Photo: Suburban Land Agency.

A prime block in the Belconnen town centre has been released for sale, with development potential for more than 400 dwellings.

Marketed as Belconnen Village on Lathlain, it is one of a number of land releases that the Suburban Land Agency says will revitalise the town centre.

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The vacant CZ2 zoned 5658 square metre block (Section 23 Block 6) sits on the corner of Lathlain and Cohen Streets opposite Westfield Belconnen Shopping Centre and the Belconnen transit hub.

The zoning allows multi-unit development, offices, hotels, serviced apartments and shops.

The site is guided by a Place Design Brief devised after a public consultation process in which people called for an intimate urban experience, better and walkable connections between precincts, open and green spaces, shared spaces and facilities, and activated street fronts including cafes, restaurants and bars.

A mix of mixed residential, offices and retail, including food and beverage outlets, has been identified for Lathlain Street, where a main street character could be created to complement the hospitality offering on the east side as part of the shopping mall.

This would mean upgrading Lathlain Street into an attractive shared street with low speed limits, according to the Place Design Brief.

It says Section 23 could also include community use such as a library or indoor sports facility on the ground floor.

“Lathlain Street will require a significant amount of design consideration and intervention to create and activate an attractive 250 m stretch of street frontage,” it says.

With a building height limit ranging from eight to 18 storeys, the site has a development capacity of 436 dwellings, of which 55 must be affordable and seven community housing.

“This site is a significant parcel of land, presenting the opportunity to create a mixed-use precinct in a premium, central location,” the sales brochure says.

It is within walking distance of Lake Ginninderra and lakeshore parkland, near the University of Canberra and major hospitals, and part of a government and education employment hub.

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The SLA is also looking for a buyer that will prioritise sustainability, including a 5 Green Star rating with EV charging infrastructure and encouraging active travel through end-of-trip facilities.

Plans for the precinct include a park to be built next door.

The SLA is selling the block by auction on 23 August at the Vibe Hotel, Canberra Airport. CBRE is marketing the sale.

This release follows the Belconnen Lakeshore release last year which was a two-stage expression of interest process.

The SLA said it had completed the second stage and evaluated submitted tenders, and would be able to announce the successful tenderer at the end of performance negotiations.

The successful tenderer would continue talks on the development design for these sites based on the Place Design Brief prepared with the community in 2021.

Construction was expected to start in 2025.

The SLA said that although the Belconnen Village on Lathlain site would go to auction, the building design requirements identified in the Place Design Brief would still need to be met by the future developer.

“Ongoing community engagement, design development, affordable housing, community housing and delivery of sustainability requirements by the future developer will be managed through a project delivery agreement between the developer and SLA,” an SLA spokesperson said.

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Now that APS work from home limits have been removed effectively, with state governments and business bound to emulate, it’s no longer necessary for most to live within easy commute of centralised office space. This is a very good thing.

I wonder if these will be affordable by the average APS or if these will be similar to current Belconnen apartments where a 1 bedroom starts at $400k, and a 2 bedroom starts at $500k. I personally dislike the idea of spending the next 30 years paying off a mortgage for a tiny box with no outdoor area.

Errrrr, I don’t know about this. I understand that the population is growing and people need a home to live in but I feel like we’re filling up every ‘nook and cranny’ of Canberra to build apartments. It’s taking away the natural landscape and I can’t imagine how these spaces can even fit these new buildings. Question is….considering the ACT is so small, what else can we do?

It’s being built on vacant land which used to be a police station. The surrounding areas are all industrial, government buildings and across the road is the Westfield and a major bus interchange. What “natural landscape” are you looking to preserve exactly? If not these spaces, where are people going to live? If you ever bothered to look at a map of the ACT you’d realise 80% of it is Namadgi National Park.

Gregg Heldon8:24 am 11 Jul 23

Title is misleading. It says 400+ homes. It should have said 400+ apartments or dwellings or residences. Or apartments.
A home is a detached, semi detached or terraced house. Maybe even a townhouse.
When I read the headline, I was intrigued because I thought “where the hell are they going to put 400 homes in the Belconnen Town Centre”.

Andrew Cooke5:08 pm 11 Jul 23

And are people who live in apartments some kind of second class citizen who don’t live in their home?

High density living, be it town houses, terraces or apartments all deliver housing and homes for people of different needs. If you want to live in a 4 bedroom house in the ‘burbs then good for you but that doesn’t mean others don’t want to live closer to amenities or transport options.

Gregg Heldon7:05 pm 11 Jul 23

Did I say any of that? Not at all. You’re just being incredibly defensive and aggressive at the same time.
And, as a townhouse resident, I would say that I live in medium density housing. Not high density.
All I said that is, when I hear the word home, I think house. And I’m sure that I’m not the only person who thought it.
I await your apology although I doubt I’ll get it.

Andrew Cooke9:39 am 12 Jul 23

You can have an apology for some perceived insult, however you did quite literally say “Title is misleading. It says 400+ homes. It should have said 400+ apartments” which I would say could conceivably mean that you don’t view apartments as homes.

Greg the definition of “home” is a place where a person or family typically resides. Does not have to be a specific dwelling type, can be a caravan for some or outside under a park bench based on personal preferences.

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