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Geocon lodges fresh plans for $70m city hotel project

Ian Bushnell 5 July 2019 89
Canberra City Luxury Hotel

The Garema Place frontage for Geocon’s Canberra City Luxury Hotel. Images from the DA.

Geocon has again amended its proposal for its Canberra City Luxury Hotel project in Garema Place to address concerns about overshadowing, parking and noise.

This is the fourth iteration of the almost $70 million mixed-use development which Geocon says will revitalise the city centre.

In May, the company unveiled its third version for pre-DA consultation, and has now addressed some of the concerns in a new development application.

Geocon is seeking to consolidate the Crown lease for Block 1 Section 47 City with the Crown lease for Block 5 Section 47 City, with the up to 11-storey development designed by Fender Katsalidis Architecture incorporating the historic Gus’s Cafe.

The new proposal cuts the number of apartments from 215 to 212, provides more office space to generate day traffic, increases parking to 90 spaces and scales back the upper levels to reduce overshadowing on to Garema Place during mid-winter.

Geocon says it has also addressed minor comments about noise and will continue to respond to feedback on the project website.

It says the proposed development will include the hotel, three basement levels and a mezzanine level, including two levels of offices, ground floor restaurants and basement venues for public and private events.

The development from Bunda Street.

There will be 11 storeys fronting Bunda Street, cascading back to six to nine storeys on Garema Place. The hotel lobby and an expanded Gus’s Brasserie, which Geocon says will be a hallmark of the development, will face Bunda Street, with another hotel entrance and eateries on Garema Place.

Geocon says it will be an iconic building that will deliver a vibrant mixed-use precinct, with the hotel including a multi-use ballroom, multi-use spaces located in the basement for comedy, live music, and other events. The company has been actively supporting the music industry in its efforts to ensure noise complaints do not see live venues shut down.

A signature restaurant will be sited on Level 7. Fronting both Bunda Street to the north and Garema Place to the south, the proposed rooftop will be a ‘hive of activity’ with an external roof terrace, large swimming pool, bar, outdoor lounging and seating areas and outdoor fitness areas including a gymnasium, as well as another restaurant.

“The proposed alfresco dining on Bunda Street and more importantly Garema Place, will transform the space and encourage more activity in this precinct,” the proposal says.

It says the provision of alfresco seating, low level wind protection, and lightweight retractable awnings and umbrellas, including heating and lighting, will set a precedent for the city.

“The renewed interest from the proposed development will invite pedestrians to come into, move through and most importantly stay within the Garema Place public realm and promote engagement with adjoining shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and businesses,” the proposal says.

Geocon, which owns and operates the Iconic Hotels group (formerly Abode), bought the Garema Centre building at 70 Bunda Street (Block 5 Section 47) in September 2017 for $13.35 million. It then acquired Block 1 Section 47.


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89 Responses to Geocon lodges fresh plans for $70m city hotel project
Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 6:07 pm 09 Jul 19

Lots of comments saying people don’t like the way it looks, I actually think it looks good.

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 9:28 am 09 Jul 19

Silly location

Deborah Mesman Deborah Mesman 5:38 pm 08 Jul 19

Because it’s pathetic and there is no excuse for lack of innovation. Oh yeah except profit

g210 9:17 am 08 Jul 19

The existing vs proposed shadow diagrams attached to the DA are quite telling for anyone interested to take a look.

Chris Endrey Chris Endrey 1:46 am 08 Jul 19

Geocon? Doesn't ring a bell. They get much work here?

Matthew Dickson Matthew Dickson 11:51 pm 06 Jul 19

Canberra should rename to GeoCon

Kate Chisholm Kate Chisholm 10:05 pm 06 Jul 19

geoCON go away!

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:52 am 07 Jul 19

    Kate Chisholm lol you do know Geocon began in Canberra, as it’s head and most of its staff did to?

    Kate Chisholm Kate Chisholm 9:57 am 07 Jul 19

    Jp Romano we are all sick of them.

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 1:16 pm 07 Jul 19

    Kate Chisholm I don’t think so? They do great things for the ACT

    Kate Chisholm Kate Chisholm 1:45 pm 07 Jul 19

    Jp Romano sure like trying to sell their apartments by annoying people in malls or offering 50k towards a deposit. Yep selling like hot cakes. And from all the feedback I’ve seen online from locals I’d say it’s the minority who think geoCON is awesome

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:36 am 08 Jul 19

    Kate Chisholm if you don’t want to buy don’t buy?

    Kate Chisholm Kate Chisholm 9:47 am 08 Jul 19

    Jp Romano no one is 😂

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 11:00 pm 08 Jul 19

    Kate Chisholm hmm that’s why their projects keep going ahead...

    Kate Chisholm Kate Chisholm 11:01 pm 08 Jul 19

    Jp oh gosh you’re still going..... 💤

HiddenDragon 5:14 pm 06 Jul 19

“There will be 11 storeys fronting Bunda Street, cascading back to six to nine storeys on Garema Place. “

So does this set the precedent for the eventual (inevitable?) redevelopment of the adjacent buildings?

    JC 6:23 pm 07 Jul 19

    Think the first image shows what the mean. Nothing to do with buildings other than the one(s) in the block they are proposing to redevelop.

Sirkka Spannari Sirkka Spannari 12:12 pm 06 Jul 19

looks like an ugly monolith

nothappyjan 10:06 am 06 Jul 19

So are these just the temporary plans for development approval? With the real plans for maximum profit to be revealed later while the council are asleep, during the Christmas holidays etc, as per usual.

Lucas James Lucas James 12:26 am 06 Jul 19

How is having a noise-complaint factory built meant to "revitalise" anything?

Jim Hosie Jim Hosie 11:07 pm 05 Jul 19

This guy says the building looks familiar...

phoon 10:47 pm 05 Jul 19

Why does Mr. Geocon think that we all want the place jammed with his apartments? Very few people do. If he thinks Canberra is so bad as it was why is he here? And has been noted 212 “premium” apartments with 90 car spaces is just silly.

Jennifer Jones Jennifer Jones 9:32 pm 05 Jul 19

We've been struggling for decades with strategies to enliven Garema place, plunging it into deep shadow should end the struggle, aka give up now.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 8:51 pm 05 Jul 19

We’ll just rename the place GeoConberra, shall we?

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 8:41 pm 05 Jul 19

Geocon .. it's all ways Geocon.

Tracey Crump Tracey Crump 8:37 pm 05 Jul 19

I think the most accurate bit of this was when the hotel accommodation units were described as 'apartments' ... anyone taking bets on how long before we are hearing that the'hotel' isn't viable, but fortunately the deal can be saved by selling off the units privately? Also, I can't wait to see if the advertising on this project manages to be even more tasteless than Tryst etc...

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 8:25 am 06 Jul 19

    Tracey Crump are you ok with how Garema place is now Tracey? Wondering how often you visit that space?

    Tracey Crump Tracey Crump 9:30 am 06 Jul 19

    Elroy Jones as it happens, I'm there quite a bit. Very happy for upgrades/improvements to the area, but it's also clear to me that just because a developer says their proposal will improve'/activate'/revitalise an area, that won't necessarily be the result, and you can't wind it back once it's done. The time for realistic assessment is now, before development is allowed to start.

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:48 am 07 Jul 19

    Tracey Crump are you serious... if it’s zoned for hotel it must be used as a hotel.

    Tracey Crump Tracey Crump 8:03 am 08 Jul 19

    Jp Romano are you not aware of Canberra's long history of 'hotel' or serviced apartment developments that magically transform into residential?

    Daniel Königs Daniel Königs 9:13 am 08 Jul 19

    you do realise Canberra has quite a high booking rate of hotels? A lot of people come here for work during the week.

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:32 am 08 Jul 19

    Tracey Crump that’s a fallacy

    Michael Harper Michael Harper 9:37 am 08 Jul 19

    JP Romano where at Geocon do you work? All this talk of Canberra needing Geocon to hit it with the ugly stick in order to become a "city" sounds awfully familiar.

Tricia Woodhouse Tricia Woodhouse 8:25 pm 05 Jul 19

Georg N Helen Cygan....so it goes on..😞

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 8:19 pm 05 Jul 19

Do no other companies exist???

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 8:36 pm 06 Jul 19

    Other companies are not as crass and money hungry in their quest to make money at our expense. The lust and greed for even more money from their ugly buildings is sickening.

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:54 am 07 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle Geocon is also a construction company, in order for them to keep employing 4000 Canberrans they always need to have projects to work on.

    Jean-Baptiste Spahr Jean-Baptiste Spahr 10:07 am 07 Jul 19

    Jp Romano if I agree with you can I get a ticket to the next Geocon social event ?

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 12:24 pm 07 Jul 19

    Jp Romano- there are plenty of construction companies in Canberra - the argument that they employ 4000 Canberrans doesn’t stack up as an argument. We would prefer that companies with ethics and dedicated to quality get the work!! Then Canberrans can work for these companies

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 1:15 pm 07 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle not sure how much knowledge you have of economics but if Geocon decided to leave Canberra tomorrow the ACT economy would tank...

    Jean-Baptiste Spahr Jean-Baptiste Spahr 1:16 pm 07 Jul 19

    Jp Romano soooooo can I come ?

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 2:16 pm 07 Jul 19

    Jp Romano doubt it!!!!!

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:26 pm 07 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle get what work?

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 11:32 pm 07 Jul 19

    Ashley Wright construction work with whatever companies win the contracts

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:35 am 08 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle they employ over 4000 and have around $2bn of work in the pipeline - all in Canberra. The ACT economy is only worth about $4bn

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 9:36 am 08 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle except geocon is the builder and the developer.. their projects don’t go to tender

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 9:39 am 08 Jul 19

    Jp Romano don’t you see that as a problem??

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 9:41 am 08 Jul 19

    Jp Romano and I see that as another concern. Builders and developers bounce ideas off each other. Hence herein lies no scrutiny

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:56 pm 08 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle that’s what I thought you would say. But goes to show you have no idea what so ever.

    Geocon isn’t given a construction contract. They are a developer that buys land in an open market and in this case an existing building and develops it.

    Got an issue with Geocon how about you buy some land and develop it.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 7:28 pm 08 Jul 19

    Jp Romano if Geocon employs over 4000 people they must be doing something very creative to avoid so much payroll tax.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 7:45 pm 08 Jul 19

    Ashley Wright is there anyone in Canberra that DOES’NT have a issue with Geocon??? I know exactly what Geocon does and how they work - no thanks!

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:51 pm 08 Jul 19

    Margaret Freemantle your words clearly show you have no idea.

    I will repeat one more time. Geocon is a developer. They buy land on existing properties an open market. They propose developments and build them.

    You seem to think the government is handing over construction contracts to them which simply isn’t the case.

    Me personally I don’t have an opinion on Geocon either way but if you are going to run around bad mouthing them you should at least have a basic understanding of how they work.

Tony Morris Tony Morris 7:09 pm 05 Jul 19

Who wants to take a bet that whenever Barr either gets booted or steps down, he won't be far away from these muppets in his new job.

    Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 8:56 pm 05 Jul 19

    A consultant to the building industry? Surely not.

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