Lendlease has been awarded a contract to build the new National Security Office Precinct in Barton, adjacent to the York Park Oak Plantation on the corner of State Circle and Brisbane Ave.
Finance Minister Senator Katy Gallagher made the announcement today (27 March). Construction will begin in early 2025.
It says the new Precinct will provide a permanent solution to the critical accommodation and capability requirements of several national security and other Commonwealth agencies, will accommodate up to 5000 workers, and will also include hospitality and retail amenities for the workers and the public.
“This is an important step in a major project for the ACT that will support jobs and provide accommodation for the public service,” Senator Gallagher said.
The site is Commonwealth-owned land and was previously identified in the National Capital Plan (NCP) as suitable for developing a multi-agency precinct. It is currently used as an outdoor car park with 735 spaces.
The project was announced in the October 2022 budget, and the Department of Finance is leading its development.
Key tenants of the new Precinct are expected to include the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) and parts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
It is described as “an enduring sovereign asset that will provide a secure, fit-for-purpose solution that enables agencies to effectively deliver on their outcomes, now and into the future”.
Prior to work starting on the new Precinct, Stage 1 of the project will see a new multi-storey car park built at the John Gorton Campus on King Avenue. The new car park will have 1153 spaces and a childcare centre on the ground floor capable of accommodating up to 170 children. The new car park will also support workers and visitors to the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery and the future Ngurra Cultural Precinct.
Stage 1 construction will commence this year and is scheduled for completion in late 2024. However, it is unclear how or where those workers and visitors currently using the outdoor car park between Kings Avenue and Dorothy Tangney Place will be accommodated during construction.
The Precinct’s site will be adjacent to the planned corridor for Stage 2 of the Light Rail, which is currently planned to cross Commonwealth Avenue Bridge from the city and turn east around State Circle before heading west, then south down Adelaide Avenue and Yarra Glen to Woden.
The cost of the project hasn’t been revealed, with an FAQs tab on the project’s Information page saying, “project financials are not for publication due to the commercial-in-confidence and national security sensitivities, so no details of the Project funding will be disclosed at this time”.
But Region understands that about $1.5 billion has been allocated to the project, and about five buildings totalling about 100,000 square metres of floor space are planned for the Precinct.