25 March 2021

Canberra's first Meriton building on way with final DA lodged

| Ian Bushnell
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Artist's impression of Meriton building

An artist’s impression of the Meriton Suites building proposed for the corner of Allara Street and Nangari Street in the Canberra CBD. Image: Fender Katsalidis.

The development of Canberra’s first Meriton building looks set to proceed after doubts were raised in late 2020 about the viability of such a venture due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry.

The final of four development applications has been lodged for a 16-storey, 207-suite building on the 1734 square metre site at 40 Allara Street in the city, standing about 50 metres tall, or close to the RL617 building height rule level.

The Meriton Suites Apartment business model provides a larger accommodation style that is a hybrid between a hotel and a serviced apartment.

The $65 million Fender Katsalidis-designed project includes a hotel, three ground-floor retail tenancies, community facilities for guests, and two levels of basement parking providing 65 spaces and bicycle storage.

The hotel will provide a range of unit sizes including studios, and one, two and three bedroom units with open balconies, and two penthouses.

Artist's impression of Meriton Suites entrance and lobby in Canberra CBD.

An artist’s impression of Meriton Suites entrance and lobby in Canberra CBD. Image: Fender Katsalidis.

It is pitched at a variety of short-term stayers such as holidaymakers, students, young professionals, graduates and other users who visit Canberra.

The communal facilities on level 15 include a swimming pool, outdoor landscaped terrace area, gymnasium, spa and sauna rooms.

At ground level, a spacious double-height hotel entry lobby is proposed at the corner of Allara Street and Nangari Street, with the remaining street frontage reserved for the three retail tenancies, and service entries located at the rear corner of Rabaul Lane.

The hotel arrival and drop off will include valet parking, with layover parking along Nangari Street.

The southern facade includes a series of hanging gardens, illuminated by light from the underside of level one.

“Draping over the Nangari Street hotel entry and retail offering, the hanging landscape design seeks to create a unique experience and visual aesthetic within the city precinct block,” says the DA.

In 2019, Meriton Group announced plans for the hotel project on the Allara Street site it acquired from Australian Unity for $23 million, saying at the time that going to the national capital was a logical progression for the Meriton Suites brand.

Artist's impression of communal pool and terrace on level 15 of Meriton Suites in Canberra.

An artist’s impression of the communal pool and terrace on level 15 of Meriton Suites in Canberra. Image: Fender Katsalidis.

Development applications for demolition of the existing building, construction of the basement car park, and lease changes for the car park have already been lodged.

This application also seeks a lease variation to change ‘net lettable area’ to gross floor area (GFA), and to increase the GFA, as well as adding ‘serviced apartments’ as a use.

The southern end of the city is undergoing renewal and the proponent believes this project will contribute to that.

Meriton owner and property mogul Harry Triguboff said earlier in the year that he had decided to convert up to five proposed serviced apartment towers planned for Australia’s eastern seaboard into residential complexes.

He attributed the decision to the lack of tourists and falling accommodation prices, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Triguboff also said at the time he was unsure if he would proceed with the Canberra project.

“Canberra might go ahead – maybe it will work, we will see,” he told The Australian.

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