The ACT Government has approved the first stage of a planned $100 million revitalisation of the Belconnen Markets precinct, with a development application lodged for Stage Two.
Elanor Investors Group plans to replace the ageing Belconnen Markets with a spacious new 5500 square metre market hall with undercover parking for 146 cars.
Stage One, to be built on a three-hectare site opposite Bunnings Warehouse, is expected to be completed in late 2019 and comprise 3750 square metres of strip retail, ideally suited to retailers needing a trading space of between 200 and 1000 square metres.
In Stage Two, the market hall design will feature a high roof structure to promote natural light and ventilation, and is scheduled to open in late 2020.
The redevelopment represents a 30 per cent increase in the market hall’s footprint, allowing for the introduction of new specialty food retailers and food catering outlets to complement Belconnen Markets’ existing fresh food offering.
Elanor’s Co-Head of Real Estate, Michael Baliva said the markets would be transformed into a day-night destination for Canberra residents and visitors, providing a unique experience not currently available elsewhere in the ACT or NSW.
“The masterplan has been influenced by recent trends in Europe and North America where markets are an important anchor of community economic activity. In other parts of the world, revitalised markets are increasingly activating mixed-use precincts,” he said.
Elanor CEO Glen Willis said there has already been strong interest from “mini-majors”, specialty retailers and service providers in Stage One, which would complement the current retail precinct.
Agent Alex Smith, from Laing and Simmons Commercial, said three national brand tenants had agreed to terms and would take up half the site.
He said the Stage One tenants would complement the fresh food market and not compete with those traders.
Although Mr Smith was unable to reveal their names, he said the major tenants would be akin to the bulky goods and large format retailers found in the industrial areas of Canberra.
“What we’re doing is offering a more curated master-planned retail precinct,” he said.
“It’s something that Canberra hasn’t seen a lot of. It hasn’t really been provided before. When you have them all together it strengthens the convenience and value to the shopper. You’ve got a pretty strong little precinct if you throw Bunnings into the mix as well.”
With 28,000 cars a day going through the intersection between Stage One and Bunnings, it was quite a high profile site, Mr Smith said.
He said the current Markets building had evolved over in a piecemeal fashion and was well overdue for a facelift.
“It will be a completely new hall, with far better parking and more convenient access,” Mr Smith said.
The Efkarpidis family sold the Markets in 2017, after owning and operating the retail precinct since the early 1990s.