The launch of Morris Property Group (MPG)’s $110 million Park Avenue project last week adds to the pipeline of residential and mixed-use development that is transforming the eastern side of the city.
Located at 20 Allara Street, currently the site of a nearly 40-year-old office block, ‘Park Avenue’ will be a 17-storey apartment complex with 184 architecturally designed residences, comprised of 66 one-bedroom units, 112 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom penthouses.
They range from the 67 square metre one-bedroom units (from $379,900) to the 83-104 sqm two-bedrooms from $449,900, while the 183-192 sqm penthouses start at $1,729,000.
Due to be completed in 2020, the development will also include a gymnasium, landscaped gardens, 500 sqm of retail space and six levels of parking – three below ground and three above ground.
Park Avenue will join four other MPG projects under construction including the nearby Highgate in City Walk, as well as other developments on that side of the city such as Geocon’s plans for the re-development of the former public housing site opposite the Canberra Centre.
MPG Managing director Barry Morgan said after the rejuvenation of Civic West it was now the turn of the other side of town, with plans by the University of New South Wales to develop a campus on Parkes Way only five minutes away from Park Avenue – a massive boost for the CBD.
He said there was a strong demand in Canberra for an inner-city lifestyle where people could be only minutes away from work and play.
“We think there is a strong belief in the Canberra market at the moment from investors. Suburbia continues to spawl, commuting is becoming a really big issue and many people are now choosing an inner-city lifestyle,” Mr Morgan said.
“We’ve concentrated on the city area for exactly that reason – the amenities, employment that the city provides, etc. It makes sense.”
The investment happening in the city was transformational with more services, more demand for infrastructure, and more confidence for service providers and businesses to move into the area.
“By the time we finish Highgate and Park Avenue there will be 370 apartments equalling 500 to 600 residents, which will reinvigorate that City Walk area,” Mr Morgan said.
Mr Morgan said location was key, with Park Avenue not only having proximity to employment, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment, but unrivalled views of iconic Canberra sights.
Demand had already been strong for the apartments, which will include stone and timber joinery, double glazed windows and stone benchtops. The three-bedroom penthouses boast a $50,000 kitchen package including Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances.
$40.6 million worth – or 79 of 184 lots – have sold already, with a good cross-section of mainly local owner-occupiers and investors, with some interest from Sydney because of Canberra’s better rental returns.
Mr Morgan doesn’t expect to see that demand tail off, particularly in the city, despite the number of projects underway or planned.
“When you look at the pipeline, the delivery time, and the lengthy process, and you get that continued population growth, demand will continue,” he said.
Mr Morgan believes the UNSW plans, the first stage of the Light Rail Network, and the Canberra Casino redevelopment – which is expected to increase visitor numbers to 617,000 by 2030 – all feed into an economic boom for the national capital.
Demolition of the existing office block is due to start in the second quarter of 2018 and take most of the year. Construction will start after that and is due to be complete by the third quarter of 2020.