29 May 2019

Former Northbourne public housing sites too pricey for tenderer

| Ian Bushnell
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An aerial map showing the Braddon and Turner sites on Northbourne Avenue. Photo: Supplied.

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.


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The city reached “peak apartments” some time ago. No way will Stage II developments on the way to Woden be a success if Northbourne blocks aren’t selling.

Not looking promising for funding Stage Two!

So a heap of stupid conditions on the development, as well as what I can only guess is a far too high asking price, have made it nonviable basically. The pack of clowns currently running the ACT really need to get the boot soon.

Capital Retro8:39 am 30 May 19

The Barrtopia project to transform Northbourne Avenue has tanked.

I feel sorry for all those mum & dad investors who have purchased a box off the plan.

Wishful thinking it would seem.

Capital Retro7:43 pm 01 Jun 19

I know some of them and they are hurting – I would prefer it to be “wishful” but that’s what this disaster has become namely hopeful for those who created it and hopeless for those who knew what the outcome would be.

Not too late for you to change sides JC.

Maybe when the other side has given a reason to change, you know like providing a vision for the future.

This is one of the reasons I voted for the other side in the one state election I voted in when I lived in Sydney (they lost though), and why I would have voted Liberal in NSW at the last state election if I had of lived there.

And like it or not at least Labor here has a plan for the future. We can of course disagree about that plan but to me personally what they are offering is the only realistic option at the moment to accomodate the growth of this city.

Capital Retro5:48 pm 29 May 19

“The reserve price reflects independent market values, as governed by the Suburban Land Agency’s pricing policy. “

They seem to be different to those policies used by the previous LDA.

Wasn’t that the point of restructuring the LDA?

Capital Retro3:55 pm 01 Jun 19

I was being sarcastic but thanks for supporting me.

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