2 November 2022

Change brewing as Republic Precinct brings chic urban vibes to Belconnen

| Katrina Condie
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Marco Caputo

Society Coffee Co. owner Marco Caputo opened his business in Belconnen’s Republic Precinct because he likes the urban, city-like vibe. Photo: Liv Cameron.

Marco Caputo says Belconnen has evolved into a pulsing urban centre, with a cool city vibe the likes of which you’d find in Sydney and Melbourne.

He says, with its new apartment buildings and inviting community spaces, the contemporary Belco caught his attention.

“I really liked the urban feel, that’s what attracted me to open my coffee shop in Belconnen,” he said.

Marco opened Society Coffee Co., a trendy cafe located in a ‘glass house’ in the centre of the new Republic Precinct, in June, and has hit the ground running.

“More and more people are coming in every day,” he said.

“They love how the coffee shop is located in the centre of the courtyard. It’s light and airy with lots of greenery, and they can see out through all the glass, even on those cold winter mornings.

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“Coming into summer we’ll expand out into the alfresco area. It is becoming a meeting place for the new residents and many of the long-time residents are discovering us.”

As well as its great location, people love Marco’s coffee too.

Having operated a number of coffee shops throughout Canberra, Marco has quite a following and says people are making the trip to Belconnen for coffee, lunch and a day out overlooking Lake Ginninderra.

“The new Republic Precinct offers people reason to come out here. And the quality businesses that are coming on-line will make it more attractive as a destination, much like the Kingston Foreshore,” he added.

Marco has previously owned Piccolo Market Coffee at the Fyshwick Markets, as well as Piccolo Espresso to go at the University of Canberra and was the original owner and operator of Deli Marco in the old Dickson Shops more than 20 years ago.

He is a big believer in supporting local business and buys his coffee from Lonsdale Street Roasters, while all food is made by independent small businesses in Canberra.

Everything is made fresh daily by local canberra small businesses from 6:30 am, seven days a week, including Italian baked goods like the Italian donuts and cannoli, homemade cakes made by local Argentinean baker Mucho Gusto. The breads, croissants and pastries are all from Sonoma Artisan Bakery in Braddon.

Marco grew up in Canberra and says Belconnen has a fresh new look that is inviting and very different to the place he remembers as a kid.

“When I was 18 years old there was a club carpark where my coffee shop is now. I spent a fair chunk of my youth here, in the Canberra Club, especially when they had $2 jugs of spirits on a Friday night,” he laughed.

“I think the whole demographic of the area is changing. Belconnen was once a upon a time a bit of a lower class suburb, but now, with these type of quality buildings and parklands, it’s a destination that people want to come to. It’s attractive to businesses and investors.

“We’re seeing more young professionals, young families and downsizers coming out of a big house into a more manageable living space where everything is on their doorstep.

“It’s evolving and has a real urban feel with a bit of Sydney and Melbourne city-style living.”

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The suburb is growing with an influx of new residents moving into Geocon’s huge Republic Precinct which consists of five buildings and 1267 apartments.

A Geocon spokesperson said the recently completed mixed precinct development would inject a “vibrant new dynamism into urban living for generations to come”.

Overlooking the tranquil waters of Lake Ginninderra, the precinct puts a world of recreation and relaxation within effortless reach of its new residents.

It’s the place to be in Belconnen, with lively places to eat, drink, shop and play, including Woolworths, BWS, an Asian grocery store, hair salon and a host of cafes and restaurants, plus the 152-room Abode Hotel.

There are fewer than 20 apartments remaining for sale, while there are still commercial spaces available for purchase or lease within the Republic Precinct.


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