8 October 2019

Developer moves to consolidate blocks for Manuka hotel project

| Ian Bushnell
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Manuka cinema

The Manuka site that will be redeveloped into a seven-storey hotel complex, including a new cinema, restaurant and residential units. Photo: File.

The developer of the proposed Manuka hotel has moved to progress the project, applying to consolidate all of the blocks on Section 96, which includes the Capitol Cinema site, and vary the lease to add commercial accommodation.

Liangis Investments’ proposal for the first stage of its seven-storey hotel development on Block 3 and 4 was given the green light in July after the company successfully challenged the decision of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to maintain the protected status of a large London plane tree that had been blocking the project.

Construction could be underway by Christmas, and now the family company is paving the way for the rest of the project.

Liangis Investments is seeking to consolidate two Crown leases. The first lease covers Blocks 1, 2, and 5, which will be subject to a separate development application currently being prepared; the second lease covers Blocks 3 and 4, which require a change of lease to allow for the hotel use.

The Stage 1 development application said the Capitol Hotel, designed by Cox Architecture, would have 58 rooms over five levels and include a basement carpark, ground-level lobby and hotel reception, café/restaurant and back-of-house areas.

The proposed hotel development at Manuka

An illustration of the proposed hotel development from the development application. Image: Supplied.

According to the latest application, the project overall will also include a new modern cinema, restaurant, retail and not more than 40 above-ground residential units.

It had been feared that the hotel development would see the demise of a cinema in the inner-south, but John Liangis said in July that the development would include a digitised six-screen complex, with seating from 80 to 120 seats in each space.

The Manuka cinema is part of the Greater Union chain and the Liangis family is negotiating with the company to continue operating the new complex.

The developers also seek the extinguishment of the current electrical easement to facilitate the development, as building over an easement is not permitted in commercial zones.

The application says it is no longer required due to the relocation of the electrical substation on the site to service future development, approved by Evoenergy.

Section 96 is a prime site bounded by Canberra Avenue, Flinders, Franklin and Furneaux streets, and its redevelopment, together with the Stuart Flats urban renewal projects, is being hailed as central to a reinvigorated Manuka Group Centre.


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HiddenDragon8:19 pm 09 Oct 19

The potential benefits for nearby businesses will surely be maximised if the basement carpark provides a truly worthwhile addition to current parking options in Manuka.

If the net effect of this development is to make it less convenient to visit Manuka for people who do not live within strolling distance, then some of the strong public supporters may have second thoughts – which would be a shame for this special part of Canberra.

michael quirk6:21 pm 09 Oct 19

Looks like a new 6 screen cinema is intended but not certain. Let’s hope it occurs

Robert of Braddon10:13 pm 08 Oct 19

A lease variation? Why? Hard to see the public benefit other than to advantage the private development.

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