16 March 2021

Geocon adds hotel to WOVA development among new changes

| Ian Bushnell
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WOVA development

An artist’s impression of the WOVA development. Building 4 on the right will now be a 12-storey tower, and the podium on the tallest tower has been revised. Image: Geocon.

Geocon has added a hotel to its massive WOVA development in Woden as part of changes to the project necessitated by conditions imposed by the planning authority when it was approved nearly three years ago.

Purdon Planning presented the company’s latest proposed changes to WOVA to the Woden Valley Community Council last month.

The presentation showed the 63-room Abode Woden hotel occupying the first and second floors of Building 1, or Phoenix, on Furzer Street, one of four towers to be built on the old Woden Tradies and Quality Hotel sites.

Geocon Managing Director Nick Georgalis said transient groups helped to activate mixed-use precincts, and the best way to attract that kind of population was with a hotel.

“The Republic Precinct is a perfect example of this, with short-term visitors making the most of the supermarket and shopping experience on the ground floor,” he said.

“The feedback from our retailers, our hotel guests and residents is that this creates more atmosphere to the space to achieve the sort of living space we’re after in a mixed-use precinct like WOVA.”

WOVA will include a signature 24-storey tower on Launceston Street (Building 2), a 16-storey building behind it fronting Furzer Street (Building 1), a 12-storey building next to Building 2 (Building 3) and the now 12-storey building on the corner of Launceston and Melrose Drive (Building 4).

The number of apartments across the development has been reduced slightly from 800 to 797, and there is less parking, down from 1,165 to 967 spaces.

Geocon has also cut the height of Building 4 on Melrose Street from 16 to 12 storeys, as required, to reduce overshadowing on the retirement units opposite.

It has doubled the amount of space for residential amenity from 854 square metres to 1,686 square metres, adding a Residential Amenity Hub to Building 2 from the ground floor to Level 5.

Facilities include a cinema, gym, pool and spa, dining area, co-working area, yoga room, bar and lounge, and golf simulator.

Originally residential amenity was spread over the four buildings, but Geocon now proposes to contain residential amenity in the main tower, which will also have a rooftop area.

It has also replaced podium-level parking with basement-level parking and relocated one of the two entry ramps between Buildings 1 and 4 in a laneway off Furzer Street.

Other conditions met include reducing the bulk and scale of Building 4, providing an upper-level setback to Furzer Street, modifying the Building 1 façade, improving pedestrian access to the south of Building 4, and designing better landscaping.

The landscape masterplan shows three green ground floor areas – an Urban Plaza, Urban Corridor and The Green – between the buildings, connected by paths and offering lawns, seating and shade.

Improvements have also been made to service arrangements such as waste collection, which have been consolidated from four sites across three buildings to two across Buildings 1 and 2.

Woden Valley Community Council president Fiona Carrick welcomed some changes but said WOVA was still an extremely high-density development with four towers, 797 apartments and an additional 57 hotel rooms on the one-hectare site.

“This equates to 85 apartments/hotel rooms on a standard 1,000 square metre residential block,” she said.

She said the increase in residential amenity was positive, as was the reduction from 16 to 12 storeys for the building on Melrose Drive. However, it had not been terraced as required in the numerous conditions of approval.

“Ultimately, we want residential buildings in Woden that demonstrate great urban design and fit into the landscape,” she said.

Ms Carrick added that the building height limit of 24 storeys in the Woden Town Centre was too high, and the street pavements too narrow for bicycles, pedestrians and trees. There was also a serious lack of surrounding green spaces for the large number of residents.

The WOVA project has undergone various iterations, including the 24-storey marker building being relocated from the corner of Launceston and Melrose to its present location.

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