11 April 2022

Completion of Nightfall caps Canberra's biggest precinct development

| Ian Bushnell
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Nightfall, Belconnen

The 22-storey Nightfall tower in Belconnen marks the completion of the Republic precinct. Photo: Geocon.

It may be a long time before Canberra sees the like of Geocon’s $1 billion Republic precinct in the Belconnen Town Centre, now coming to conclusion after four years in the making.

The 22-storey Nightfall on the corner of Eastern Valley Way and Cameron Avenue in Belconnen is the third and final stage of Republic Precinct, and is in the last tidying up period before completion in May.

It adds 334 one and two-bedroom apartments to the precinct for a total of 1300 across the five buildings – Republic, Dusk, the two High Society towers and now Nightfall, all designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects.

All up, about 5000 people will call the precinct home, along with about 60 commercial and retail tenancies and a 150-room Abode hotel.

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Nightfall adds 12 ground floor tenancies of between 200 to 1000 square metres in size to the precinct mix, which already includes a Woolworths Metro, BWS liquor store, and food and beverage outlets.

Geocon Development Manager Sean Smith said the sale and/or leasing of the commercial arcade tenancies would be the last piece of the Republic puzzle and would likely include professional services and possibly an ACT Government shopfront, especially with 500-space car park below.

Nightfall also comes with second floor recreational amenities available for function hire, including a private barbecue area, fully equipped commercial kitchen, dining room and outdoor terrace.

Recreational amenity Nightfall, Belconnen

The recreational amenities on the second floor. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The Republic precinct has met a huge demand for apartment living with only 24 two-bedroom units in Nightfall left, and only 15 three-bedroom apartments in the other towers remaining at about $900,000.

Mr Smith said Canberra’s current housing boom had seen a definite uplift in value for apartments in the precinct, with the Nightfall ones selling from $299,000 to $633,000.

Geocon has set the bar for mixed-use precinct development in Canberra, with Republic being the biggest such project in the Territory.

Mr Smith said Republic was not a one-off “but I don’t think the scale that we’ve seen here will be easily emulated”.

Geocon had learnt many lessons from Republic that it would take into future developments such as the Allara Street project in Civic, and WOVA in Woden.

It had also changed the way the company operated and how it dealt with government and the community.

Geocon had to negotiate the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, lockdowns and supply chain issues to finish Nightfall, described by Geocon Sales Director Tom Stephens as an epic project.

But he said the product had hit the market at the right time, with Canberra in the middle of a rental crisis.

Nightfall commercial units

Nightfall has 12 commercial and retail units. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

ACT Property Council President Arabella Rohde said it was an exciting time for Belconnen, in terms of the density and getting people into the Town Centre.

“What’s exciting about these types of projects, specifically mixed use, is a consideration of the amenity associated with density,” she said.

“It’s important where we’re putting our density, in term of proximity to services, such as supermarkets, shopping and the like, but also high quality open space and public infrastructure as well and providing that around Town Centres.”

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Ms Rohde said projects such as Republic were an important part of the housing offering, which needed to be diverse to offer buyers choice depending on their individual needs and circumstances.

Mr Smith said Republic and its like would meet Canberra evolving needs, particularly for those who can’t afford a stand-alone house in the suburbs, now averaging $1 million.

The Republic precinct was initially a 10-year project but in mid-2018 Geocon decided to accelerate its timetable in response to unprecedented demand for apartments and construct its first four buildings concurrently.

Dusk stands at 22 storeys, Republic 16 and the High Society towers 27, and at 100 and 113 metres high are the tallest in Canberra.

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Everyone is excited about it, from planners to builders to architects to politicians….but no way would they actually live there.

Roslyn Marlton9:44 pm 12 Apr 22

I cannot say anything positive about this. The buildings are jammed up close together, overlooking each other and shading each other. A concrete jungle and I gather there are more to come for Canberra. Give me a home among the gumtrees even if they do fall down from time to time!!

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