Canberra developer Geocon is planning a 500-unit, ”precinct style” development on the prime Bega Flats site it bought for $38.5 million on Wednesday.
Geocon fended off six other local bidders in a hotly contested auction of the public housing site in Reid opposite the Canberra Centre and Glebe Park.
Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis said the almost 12,000 square metre site bordered by Cooyong Street, Ainslie Avenue and Boolee Street was one of the best locations in Canberra, particularly because it was at the quiet end of the city over Glebe Park, which was a huge drawcard.
“It will be quite an exciting proposition for a lot of people, either first-home buyers, downsizers or investors,” he said.
Mr Georgalis said the development would include all the amenity you would expect to find in a precinct such as a swimming pool, sauna, gym, or cinema, as well as ground-floor commercial and retail space on the corner of Ainslie Avenue.
“It’s the sort of thing that you see nationally and internationally, and we’re certainly putting it into all of our developments in the ACT,” he said.
Mr Georgalis said there was mix of building heights permitted across the development but the corner of Ainslie Avenue and Cooyong Street could be up to 12 storeys.
Geocon expects to settle in May next year, then start work immediately with the demolition of the flats. It will be going to market in six months.
“We know the sales and demand for the apartment product in the city is through the roof,” Mr Georgalis said.
But he said apartments would be reasonably priced with one bedrooms from under $400,000 and two bedrooms from under $500,000.
A development application will be lodged soon.
Geocon’s other buildings include Midnight in Braddon, Wayfarer in Belconnen and Infinity in Gungahlin.
City Renewal Authority interim chief executive Gary Rake said the high level of interest in the CBD site and the strong result were indicative of industry confidence in the city precinct’s ongoing renewal and growth.
“Renewal and growth in our city precinct are critical in accommodating Canberra’s growing population while making the city more vibrant, connected and sustainable,” Mr Rake said.
“With its proximity to Glebe Park, the Canberra Centre and the CBD, this site is a fantastic opportunity for a development that will have a positive impact on the area.
“I look forward to seeing plans for a high-quality development that brings new residents into the city and improves the lives of the people who already use the area.”
The Bega Flats is part of the “ABC Flats” that included the neighbouring Allawah and Currong buildings. That 25,630 square metre site sold at auction in February 2016 for $47 million.
The Authority said the sale of the Bega Flats public housing site brought a 15 per cent bonus to the ACT Government as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Asset Recycling Initiative. Public housing sold through the scheme would be replaced with 1,288 new sustainable public housing dwellings across Canberra.
It said all remaining public housing tenants would be relocated prior to settlement.
Height limits and other development conditions for potential developments are set out in the Reid Precinct Code.