Work will begin in 2019 on the first luxury hotel in Canberra’s CBD following Geocon’s purchase of the Garema Centre site at 70 Bunda Street for $13.35 million.
Internationally-renowned Fender Katsalidis Architects have been commissioned to design the hotel for Geocon which owns and operates the Abode Group of hotels.
Garema Place is expected to open in 2020 and will be one of the first of the new deluxe offerings the Abode Group is planning to bring to Canberra – helping meet demand in the luxury market, particularly from international visitors.
“The Chief Minister recently announced the ACT Government was trying to attract high-end hotels to the city, to help accommodate record numbers of international visitors coming to the national capital,” Geocon Managing Director Nick Georgalis said.
“Anyone who travels regularly to Canberra knows there are times when you can’t find a hotel room because there just isn’t enough supply, particularly for the luxury market,” he said.
Mr Georgalis said Geocon, through the Abode Group, planned to deliver an international-standard luxury experience.
“The Garema Centre site is in the very heart of the city, with close proximity to world-class shopping in the Canberra Centre and some of Canberra’s best restaurants, bars and attractions, and 300 metres from the light rail stop,” Mr Georgalis said.
“A brand-new luxury hotel experience at Garema Place will embrace its potential for vibrancy and activation at all hours of the day and night, and boost the surrounding businesses by attracting guests and visitors.
“We have commissioned world-renowned Fender Katsalidis Architects to bring to life our vision of a sculptural icon that will define the heart of the city, and, we will introduce a bold, new hotel brand to Canberra that will reflect the city’s status as Australia’s national capital.”
Canberra developer Geocon has been very active in Canberra recently, last month buying the Woden Tradies Club for a high-rise apartment precinct and the Bega Flats site for a 500-unit “precinct style” development.
Colliers International Manager, Matthew Winter said Geocon purchased 70 Bunda Street following a hotly-contested Expressions of interest campaign which recorded the highest level of enquiry for a Colliers International listed building so far this year.
“Unlike many assets offered for sale this year, the flexibility of the 70 Bunda Street site made it an attractive option to a very broad range of buyers,” Mr Winter said.
“We saw significant interest from developers, investors, student accommodation providers, owner-occupiers and hoteliers.
“The number of enquiries from interstate buyers shows the strength of the Canberra market and confidence interstate buyers have in Canberra’s fundamentals,” he said.
“We saw significant enquiry from hoteliers, and it is not surprising considering the strength of the Canberra hotel market.