The Woden Town Centre after hours can be a lonely place but all that is about to change.
While there are residential towers on the Town Centre’s edges, Geocon and Zapari’s Grand Central Towers will soon inject more than a 1000 people into the very heart of Woden.
On the western side, the refurbished Alexander and Albemarle buildings are complete and a development application is imminent from Zapari for a 400-unit, mixed-use development on a site to the south on Corinna Street, the first stage of a project that will eventually hold 600 apartments.
In the first half of next year, Geocon will release to the market apartments from its massive WOVA development on which it hopes to start work later in 2021.
Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis said the company was finalising aspects of the project with the planning authority but a start on the four-building, 800-apartment project on the site of the old Woden Tradies and the Quality Hotel on Launceston Street was in sight.
One of the buildings will be a signature 24-storey tower, and Mr Georgalis said the entire project should be a 25 to 30-month build and add another couple of thousand of people to the Town Centre.
Zapari chief executive Nick Skepev said its next Woden project on a three-block site bounded by Melrose Drive, Brewer Street and Corinna Street would include retail space, a hotel and even some community facilities.
The Cox Architecture-designed towers would be 12 to 16 storeys, but articulated up to the Town Centre, and incorporate cross-ventilated and north-facing apartments.
Mr Skepev said the project would be a true mixed-use development and rejuvenate an area that had been allowed to run down in recent years.
”We’re working with stakeholders and the government to activate the foot traffic areas, the retail walkways,” he said.
”One building has been vacant for four to five years, so the community is always looking to something happening for these old derelict buildings.”
Mr Skepev views Woden as the geographical centre of Canberra.
”Personally I like Woden, it’s an emerging Town Centre – light rail, CIT, the hospital. It’s great to see the government investing,” he said.
Nearby, residents have started moving into Doma’s 186-apartment Alexander and Albemarle refurbishment that resurrected old Commonwealth public service buildings that had been derelict for years.
This development will also have ground-floor commercial tenancies to activate the area.
Across the road, Doma is also planning a four-building mixed-use and office development on a block it bought earlier this year for $12.5 million.
Doma plans to deliver 480 apartments across three of the buildings and heights range from 12 to 20 storeys.
Mr Georgalis said that based on what was going to be delivered over the next few years there will be 5000 people living in the Town Centre, creating huge demand for hospitality and other businesses.
That demand and amenity had been missing in Woden, and Geocon wanted to supply world-class amenity and lots of it.
Mr Georgalis said the company learnt from every project and what it had achieved with Republic in Belconnen would feed into WOVA.
”It’s all about the evolution of the project and the end-users’ experience,” he said. “It creates a precinct and a destination in its own right, so it really is the changing face of the city of Canberra.”