1 September 2023

Developer switches first two stages of build-to-rent project to sales

| Ian Bushnell
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The Borough, Denman Prospect

An artist’s impression of the first stage of The Borough development in Denman Prospect. Photo: DKO Architecture.

The developer of Denman Prospect has swapped rentals for sales in the first two stages of The Borough apartment development after changes to government guidelines on affordable housing.

The three-stage, 700-unit Borough was touted as the biggest build-to-rent project in Canberra, accompanied by a rich range of amenity including rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, possibly drone landing zones, secure parcel collection areas, grey water management, community gardens, rooftop recreation areas and pop-up shops and cafes for tenants.

But Canberra Airport’s development arm Capital Estate Development has decided the more than 360 apartments in stages 1 and 2 will now be released for sale.

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It remains committed to build-to-rent and will now make Stage 3, to be developed in Stromlo Reach, an affordable rental precinct, offered through a community housing provider at 75 per cent of market rates.

In June, the government announced that developers could apply to convert their affordability requirements to affordable rentals as part of moves to increase cheaper supply in the market.

Director of project delivery Nick McDonald Crowley said the number of apartments in Stage 3 would now increase from 330 to 400, aided by being able to offer a different housing mix and smaller dwellings compatible with the rental market instead of being limited by the minimum size requirements of the ‘for sale’ market.

He said the architects were working on the revised plans but construction was not expected to start until 2025 or 2026.

Mr McDonald Crowley said it was a good outcome for the precinct and the company embraced a build-to-rent product at the affordable discounted rate.

This will also please housing advocates concerned rents at The Borough would be too high.

Mr McDonald Crowley said higher construction costs were also a factor in the decision.

He said Stage 3 would still have the promised communal amenities.

“We will have more money tied up in it for longer but we can make the precinct stronger,” he said.

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ACT Government wants to attract 5000 extra rentals to the Canberra market through its Build-to-Rent prospectus to industry and a range of incentives that could include lease variations and land tax concessions.

Apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms across the five buildings planned in Stage 1 and Stage 2 will go on sale later in the year; pricing is still to be determined.

The first two buildings will front Holborow Avenue and two currently unnamed roads in the Denman North area on a 10,530 sqm site.

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