In a setback for Government plans for the re-development of the former public housing sites on either side of Northbourne Avenue, the public tender for their sale has failed to find a buyer willing to meet the reserve price.
The former Northbourne Flats sites in Braddon and Turner were released for sale by tender last year, with potential buyers having to adhere to specific quality design conditions and consider their location on the gateway route into Canberra and proximity to light rail.
The City Renewal Authority conducted the tender process on behalf of the Suburban Land Agency, and it was marketed as Braddon and Turner on Northbourne, a combined 39,000 square metres of prime mixed-use land linking the city centre with the inner north.
The two blocks are part of the Asset Recycling Initiative and sit on either side of Northbourne Avenue to the north of Haig Park. They are zoned CZ5, mixed-use commercial, with a maximum of 886 dwellings permitted.
Marketing for the tender said the buyer would develop a landmark precinct that incorporated both sites and it required a design that visually connected them while making the most of each area’s individual personality.
The Suburban Land Agency Chief Executive Officer, John Dietz said in a statement that while the preferred tenderer developed an impressive response to the design criteria for the redevelopment, it had been unable to meet the reserve price for the sites.
“The reserve price reflects independent market values, as governed by the Suburban Land Agency’s pricing policy. Negotiations to improve the financial offer were unsuccessful,” Mr Dietz said.
The statement said the Suburban Land Agency and the City Renewal Authority would continue to work together, with input from industry to develop a new, well-rounded process.
City Renewal Authority Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Snow said he looked forward to continuing to work with the Suburban Land Agency to determine a new process to realise the desired outcome for these two gateway sites.
“Braddon and Turner on Northbourne provide a very significant opportunity to create something very special that Canberrans can be proud of. We want to see development that is attractive, has high-quality public spaces, has a rich social mix, provides significant public benefit and contributes to the activity and vitality of the precinct,” Mr Snow said.
The statement said it was important for the ACT Government to accomplish high-quality design and place-making standards for Canberra’s gateway corridor.
The decision to conclude the tender showed the Government’s commitment to achieving a high-quality outcome for the two hallmark sites.
“The outcome is one that continues to seek quality for the Northbourne Avenue corridor as priority,” Mr Dietz said.
The tender for sale of the ex-Housing ACT sites closed in early October 2018 and was marketed nationally, with three proposals received.