21 October 2022

Espresso bar and winter gardens: new development to help make Phillip district the ‘Braddon of the south’

| Ian Bushnell
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An artist's impression of the proposed Phillip development

An artist’s impression of the proposed Phillip development, which will inject new life into the area. Photos: Studio Architecture and Interiors.

Plans for a milestone mixed-use development in Phillip have been revised to include serviced apartments, but its proponent remains adamant the tired service district can be transformed into the ‘Braddon of the south’.

Peter Micalos’s Intellectual Property Group lodged an initial development application in January 2021 for a four-storey building plus attic on an island site on Botany Street and Divine Court. It included 38 residential units and eight ground-floor commercial tenancies.

IPG said at the time that ‘The Lord’ would be the first urban renewal project in the precinct since the ACT Government finalised its master plan for the area and would drive the revitalisation of that part of Phillip.

Block 1 Section 42 sits amid a range of businesses, including car yards on both sides and a laundromat, cafe and cake shop. Nearby is the old Magnet Mart hardware site, now a restaurant, and the rear of shops next door. Across the road are car servicing and repair shops.

A new development application (DA) has now been lodged for a four-storey building to contain 56 serviced apartments instead of 38 residential units, with ground-floor commercial tenancies to include a pub with a beer garden and restaurant and an espresso bar.

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Mr Micalos said the company had decided on a new design direction for the $7.6 million project with a new architect, Studio Architecture and Interiors.

He said this would lead to better unit designs, improved ground-floor commercial space and more rooftop amenities.

Woden Valley Community Council President Fiona Carrick welcomed development in Phillip as the service area needed investment and renewal.

But she said there needed to be a strategic plan to understand how residential apartment blocks would co-exist with the service area.

“This is important because we have already lost Magnet Mart hardware and its garden centre, and most of the recreation precinct in the north of Woden to apartments,” she said.

“We also need certainty about building heights. This development does not comply with the Phillip Precinct Code because it adds a fifth storey to the four-storey zone. It includes floors that are 4.7 metres high, which nearly doubles the height of a typical four-storey building.”

The existing two-storey building will be demolished to make way for the development, which will comprise 48 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments on levels one, two and three, and an attic.

A corner view of The Lord in Phillip

A corner view of The Lord in Phillip.

The ground floor will also have a reception area, public toilets and a waste pickup area.

The serviced apartments will offer five types of one-bedroom units, four types of two-bedroom units, and studio units.

They will all feature private winter gardens or glassed areas to provide open space, sunlight and privacy.

The DA states the proposed development includes planter boxes on the facades, rooftop gardens and landscaping in the setbacks surrounding the building, including shade trees to mitigate urban heat island effects.

The building facade will use glazing, concrete, precast concrete and cladding, and awnings with colonnades will provide shelter from the weather and promote pedestrian access.

Two levels of basement car parking will offer 47 spaces – 40 tandem, four accessible spaces, and two manoeuvring spaces between pairs, plus a single car space.

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The DA states this level of parking is considered sufficient given serviced apartments are likely to have a proportion of business clients who fly to Canberra and use taxis/ride share.

There are also four kerbside spaces along the southern boundary that have low overnight demand.

The access ramp, including an on-site waiting bay, will be located near the site’s northeast corner and reached via the Divine Court loop.

The DA states the expected additional traffic generated by the proposed development will be no more than 45 vehicles an hour (10 vehicles from and 35 vehicles to the site) during the morning commuter peak.

It states this will not cause any adverse impacts on transport operations, intersection performance or road network safety for road users in the vicinity.

The proponent is applying for a lease change to accommodate a range of uses, including commercial accommodation, hotel and serviced apartments.

Comments for the DA close on 31 October.

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HiddenDragon7:20 pm 26 Oct 22

Developments like this are a symptom of a town with an economy which is still overwhelmingly reliant on accommodating and providing services to people who are, directly or indirectly, on the public payroll.

They come at the price of steadily shrinking (and thus increasing in price) accommodation options for new businesses in fields which could actually give genuine diversification and independence to the Canberra economy.

That might not seem like a problem right now with a shiny new federal government making comforting noises about valuing the APS etc. etc., but the wheel will turn (as it always does) and the complacent, short-sighted ACT government which is cheering on this process will find itself with a dangerously narrow economy, and nowhere to turn.

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