8 May 2019

Geocon unveils third attempt at Garema Place hotel development

| Ian Bushnell
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Geocon’s proposed Canberra City Luxury Hotel development on Garema Place. Image: Geocon.

Geocon has unveiled a third-time-lucky iteration of its plans for a new luxury hotel in the city on Garema Place, this time incorporating an adjacent block and the iconic Gus’s cafe.

The construction giant originally proposed a 16-storey, five-star hotel in the city centre on Garema Place, but then scaled it back to a maximum of 10 storeys for what the amended development application said was a more modest building, more in keeping with the future direction of the area.

Geocon, which owns and operates the Iconic Hotels group (formerly Abode), bought the Garema Centre building at 70 Bunda Street in September 2017 for $13.35 million.

The site, on Block 5 Section 47 in the city, fronts Bunda Street on the north and Garema Place on the south and is occupied by a two-storey building with a basement level, with the ground floor consisting primarily of food and drink premises and a variety of commercial and retail premises on the first floor.

Geocon has also acquired Block 1 Section 47 and is now proposing an 11-storey development occupying 60-70 Bunda Street that it says will be Canberra’s first luxury mixed-used building, with 215 luxury hotel rooms, high grade office space, a wellness centre, multi-use event space, bars, cafes, signature restaurant, ballroom, function spaces, club lounge, outdoor bar and roof terrace pool.

It says the Canberra City Luxury Hotel development, designed by Fender Katsalidis Architecture, will also feature Gus’s cafe and alfresco dining, and be the catalyst for renewal at Garema Place, drawing more people to the heart of Canberra and creating a vibrant new precinct for locals and visitors alike.

“This development provides a mix of hotel, functions spaces, offices, restaurants, wellness centre, cafes and a wide range of commercial uses throughout the site,” Geocon says.

“Access from both Bunda Street and Garema Place provides lively street frontages within the locality. The hotel lobby will be active 24/7 and the bars, cafes and restaurants will have a wide variety of opening times, including weekends and evenings.”

Geocon says the building will cascade away from Garema Place to allow sunlight into the area and create a visually interesting building with less impact on the space.

It says pedestrians will be able to access the building from multiple angles, creating an experience from Garema Place and Bunda Street, while still maintaining the laneway feel with the adjacent buildings to the west.

Access for parking via a ramp and service vehicles will be provided off Bunda Street.

Geocon will seek approval to demolish the two existing two-storey commercial buildings on the site and replace them with the hotel and commercial offerings.

The pre-DA consultation period closes on 17 May, and the development application is expected to be lodged at the end of the month, with construction to commence in 2020.

To view the Garema Community Consultation document click here.

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Geocon advertises on Sky News… which makes it all the more hilarious that the rest of their apartment marketing has them pretending to be millennial-friendly!

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