11 May 2023

City Renewal Authority releases landmark site for sale

| Ian Bushnell
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Aerial view of City Hill, Canberra

An aerial view of City Hill and surrounds. The land for sale is at the top right, next to City Hill. Photos: CRA.

A prime block of land on London Circuit next to City Hill and on the proposed light rail route has been released to the market as part of the ACT Government’s renewal of Canberra’s city centre.

The almost two-hectare site (Block 1 Section 121 City) opposite the QT Hotel is part of the clover leaf arrangement being dismantled in the Raising London Circuit project, the precursor to the 1.7 km Light Rail Stage 2 to Commonwealth Park via City West.

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JLL is marketing the land, currently a staging post for the project, via an international expression of interest process on behalf of the City Renewal Authority.

The 18,959 square metre site can have multiple uses, including residential, with capacity for 500 dwellings – hotel, offices and retail.

If other recent city land sales are anything to go by, the site could bring about $60 million.

Development there will complement the One City Hill office project taking shape next door and be a gateway precinct on the southern approach to the city.

JLL’s managing director for the ACT Tim Mutton said the rare release was one of the most significant development sites to come to market with frontages to London Circuit, Edinburgh Avenue, Vernon Circle and Commonwealth Avenue.

“Land release offerings have been extremely rare within the central city area, let alone one of this scale,” he said.

“The site presents an opportunity for developers to create something unique that will become part of the history of Canberra’s renewal.”

aerial view of city land

A view of Block 1 Section 121, City, now a staging post for the Raising London Circuit project but set to be multi-use precinct.

City Renewal Authority acting CEO Craig Gillman said the two-stage tender process and the sale conditions were focused on a high-quality design and achieving a good value for money outcome for the Territory.

Mr Gillman said that the ground plane in particular was crucial because of its interaction with nearby areas in that part of the city.

“This a really critical site for how Canberrans access New Acton, how Canberans can get to the university,” he said.

“So how that ground plane works and gets down to the lake, how active it is, even the mix of commercial that might sit on that ground plane is really important.”

The successful buyer would also need to include a minimum of 70 affordable dwellings as part of the residential component.

Mr Gillman said the CRA was also looking for strong innovation in bidders’ proposals, including “top-notch” sustainability features.

He said the site was big enough to support a combination of the available uses.

The release was timed to coincide with the Raising London Circuit project and would have a two-year settlement, during which the developer could finalise plans and submit a Works Application to the National Capital Authority.

But not before the CRA saw and approved it first.

“There are really strong controls on making sure we get the right quality submitted the NCA and in the Works Application,” Mr Gillman said.

It was hoped that construction could start in 2026 when the Raising London Circuit project was completed.

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Mr Gillman said the land was a truly landmark site and its development would be significant for the city.

“It will mean more people living and working in the city – that will mean economic benefits for the city but also more activation of that side of the city as well,” he said.

“You’ve got light rail right on the doorstep.”

The CRA is still awaiting settlement on the sale of Block 40 Section 100 on the northern gateway near the Law Courts, where an 11-storey Commonwealth office block is planned.

Expressions of Interest for the City West site close on 4 July 2023.

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The uglification of Canberra continues.

Whats the point of light rail going 1.7km? It’s not replacing any bus services. How many of those that light rail really want to get to the edge of the lake on a daily commute?

Hi gooterz, the section of light rail known as stage 2A to which you refer is part of the network north to south route, ie starting in Gungahlin then going through the northern suburbs of Canberra to Civic, then going around via City West to the lake, from whence it will go over the lake and south to Woden (and later further south to Tuggeranong). Stage 2A will also hook up the Acton and City west parts of the city that have been cut off as transport routes. This will also include new residences closer to the lake.

What a lovely non answer.

Actually, chewy14, to help you out here, both questions were answered but let me paraphrase for you; firstly stage 2A is part of a network (in the same way that the heavy rail City Circle, in Sydney is part of a network) so it isn’t viewed in isolation, Secondly, anyone who lives or works in the city west/new acton area knows that it has been struggling to attract business and visitors for a long time. 2A will provide better connection between this part of the city and the rest of canberra.

Acchually, to spell it out clearly, what you just said is complete bollocks.

Stage 2A does almost zero for transport connectivity, nor supporting businesses in the area as anyone who lives or works in the area knows.

Which is why it’s cost benefit ratio is 40cents in the dollar.

ie. It costs 2.5 times what it will return.

But politically it worked for the government with their spin around actually doing something.

And people like you continue to buy it because you don’t care about good planning, transport or how much things cost.

Mate you’re really getting upset over the light rail project. It seems to be confusing your judgement and causing wild assertions. I shouldn’t have to explain to you the number of buildings, residential and commercial over in that direction. Do you really need this spellt out or perhaps just take a walk around on the other side of Northbourne Ave, try starting with the ACT Law Courts and working your way around from there. There’s really no need for the gratuitous insults Chewy14. Nobody likes a sore loser.

Just providing facts for you as someone who actually know what they are talking about champion.

40 cents in the dollar.

Unsurprising you ignore the actual evidence because your emotional responses continue to make you look foolish.

Also funny that you think this is something that a person can win or lose. This isn’t a competition, we all lose when bad decisions are made by government. You just aren’t smart enough to understand.

The clover leaf that lead from Commonweath Avenue to Parkes way eastbound that was “closed for road safety reasons” (The ACT Governments response to my question about why it was closed) will probably get the same treatment soon enough.

It’s directly adjacent to the London Circuit road works, did you think it would remain open whilst major construction goes on right next to it?

And that clover leaf has been identified for development for over ten years as part of the City to the Lake proposal, so why would development there be a surprise?

According to ACT govt ‘Raising of London Cct’ blurb (https://www.act.gov.au/lightrailtowoden/raising-london-circuit), the south-west and north-west cloverleafs are to be removed – so I think they are now permanently closed.

ChrisinTurner4:27 pm 11 May 23

Suggests to me that the Light Rail is really just a boon to developers.

Ha Ha strong controls “There are really strong controls on making sure we get the right quality submitted the NCA and in the Works Application,” Mr Gillman said.
The right quality for the developer? -The NCA do not follow their own procedures. They are a Non Compliant Administration (NCA) for Canberra Heritage and Environment. Another episode for Utopia.

What has happened to the National Museum on the Acton Peninsula in the first photo? It seems to have been replaced.

500 dwellings, buy it submit a variation for 900 units then settle on 750 win win , it will go down something like that

devils_advocate11:56 am 12 May 23

Yep, increasing the supply of residential housing and putting downwards pressure on home prices, sounds like a win for everyone!

I don’t think any of these dwellings will be in the low price range

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