13 May 2019

Geocon's 520-apartment development in city gets green light

| Ian Bushnell
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The proposed Envie building.

Geocon’s proposed $200 million, 520-unit, mixed-use precinct development opposite the Canberra Centre and Glebe Park in the city has been given the green light by the planning authority.

The development comprises three mixed-use/apartment buildings on Cooyong Street, Reid, ranging from five to a maximum 12 storeys, with three levels of basement car parking, and landscaping.

Envie, Tryst and the centrepiece Metropol tower will offer one to three bedroom units, above ground floor shops and commercial tenancies.

The 12-storey Metropol, on the corner of Ainslie Avenue and Cooyong Street, will include 280 apartments and more than 2000 square metres of commercial space, Tryst 160 apartments, and Envie 80, connected by large outdoor courtyards. All have been designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, which has also designed Geocon’s proposed city hotel in Garema Place.

Construction work is scheduled to start on June 30 and be completed by mid-2021.

While the planning authority wants more dwellings to receive more sunshine than proposed, it says in its Notice of Decision that the development will activate the site and increase employment and recreation opportunities in the area.

It also fits with Government policy to encourage higher density residential development in locations with convenient access to transport corridors, and commercial and employment centres.

The centrepiece Metropol: 280 apartments, including a penthouse and rooftop pool.

Approval comes with a list of conditions, including a revised site plan showing not more than 15 per cent of dwellings receiving less than 30 minutes of solar access between 9 am and 3 pm on the winter solstice.

The decision also says that air-conditioning units should not be located on balconies, or be visible from the public domain, recommending that a rooftop air-conditioning “farm” should be considered.

It also says Geocon must submit a revised noise management plan that actually reflects the uses permitted in the lease and is endorsed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), ensure registered trees are protected and provide more outdoor lighting.

Geocon will have to redesign the basement access to the site off Cooyong Street to give pedestrians priority, and provide 17 extra visitor parking spaces.

Other conditions relate to landscaping, waste and traffic management and Geocon will have to obtain works approval from the National Capital Authority for all works within the Ainslie Avenue verge.

The planning authority warns Geocon that any future applications to amend this development proposal will bring fresh assessment involving greater scrutiny and possible public notices.

Thirteen written representations were received, with the main issues raised relating to a lack of community consultation, the size of units, overshadowing, noise, privacy, parking, heritage values and the scale of the development.

The Geocon development will join JWLand’s Founders Lane precinct across Ainslie Avenue, which will include over 700 new homes across four buildings, with the entire project expected to be completed in 2020.

Stage 1 and 2 of Founders Lane is expected to be completed in late 2019.

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