For a key city site where nothing much happened for so long, a lot is set to change in a comparably short space of time at Section 100 City West.
Not only will the car park on Section 100 (formerly S63) in City West be transformed in the next two years with the first stage of Morris Property Group’s (MPG) Barracks precinct, but also planned are two important road extensions and the start of light rail Stage 2A to Commonwealth Park.
As MPG director Barry Morris said on Monday after the official sod-turning ceremony for One City Hill with ACT Senator Zed Seselja, City West has been a growing part of the city centre for the past 10 years and getting this part of the quadrant of the City Hill precinct underway is quite significant.
One City Hill, considered to be a southern gateway development for Canberra city, will consist of 325 apartments and 600 square metres of retail and cafes along the extension of Knowles Place, which will connect with Edinburgh Avenue when it is extended to Vernon Circle.
As well as the residential and retail components, there will be 1200 car parks, including a 750-space public facility.
Mr Morris said it was a significant milestone to be able to break ground on a site like this.
The 27,000 square metre site stood idle, except for the surface car park, for 11 years after Leighton Properties and Mirvac bought it for $92 million. Its sale to MPG was finalised in June 2018 for $85 million and, thanks to an accelerated planning approvals process, the first stage of what will eventually be a 1000-apartment precinct is now officially underway.
Mr Morris said the Edinburgh Avenue extension would provide better connectivity through the city centre, along with light rail Stage 2a, which will service this development and others planned from City West to the lake.
He called Stage 2A an important and attractive addition to that part of the city.
“The main City West stop, which they believe will become the highest use stop on the city rail network, is parallel to the site here on London Circuit,” Mr Morris said.
“It will be a significant addition and will further enliven city west, and of course the connection of City West with light rail down to the lake foreshore will be further impetus to good living and accommodation in this area.”
Mr Morris said he would welcome more Commonwealth support for light rail.
“We can already see significant usage of light rail from Gungahlin to the city, and I think the same will apply when it runs from Woden to the city,” he said. “It will enliven further areas and give us better use of the city’s infrastructure and infill development.”
MPG hoped to accelerate the next stage of the Barracks so that it comes into being when light rail Stage 2A is expected to be completed in 2024-25.
One City Hill follows MPG’s other projects Mayfair, Highgate and Park Avenue, which are contributing to meeting Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s goal of 20,000 residents making their home in the city.