Instagramable rooftop and new Gus’ Cafe within new greenlit Geocon Garema Place hotel development

Ian Bushnell 30 January 2020 61
Canberra City Luxury Hotel

An artist’s impression of the Canberra City Luxury Hotel. It will define the city centre, says Geocon Managing Director Nick Georgalis. Images: Supplied.

A new 11-storey, five-star hotel in the city is expected to take its first guests in 2022 after Geocon’s $70 million proposal was given the green light by the ACT planning authority.

The 212-room Canberra City Luxury Hotel will rise from Garema Place and feature a rooftop pool and bar, restaurants and cafés on the ground floor, a ballroom, and a high-end commercial office and meeting space.

The jewel in the dining precinct will be a new Gus’s Cafe, with Geocon saying it will maintain and honour the heritage of the site.

One of the many conditions attached to the approval requires Geocon to install an artwork or mural telling the story of the cafe and reinstalling a plaque.

Other more significant conditions include changes to the plans for the upper floors to reduce overshadowing, allowances for tree growth, bicycle parking on the ground floor, more street parking, and a Noise Management Plan.

This is the fourth iteration of the project designed by Fender Katsalidis Architecture, which began as a 16-storey, 233-room hotel but was scaled back amid concerns about overshadowing.

There were also concerns about insufficient parking, with the original proposal only containing 24 spaces. It now has 90.

Geocon says the hotel will bring an “unrivalled level of style and glamour to Canberra’s city centre, while still maintaining the character and charm of old Canberra thanks to key inclusions like Gus’s café”.

It says the rooftop bar and pool will become one of the most ‘Instagramable’ locations in Canberra, while the ballroom and commercial space will provide critical elements for commercial entertainment currently missing in the city centre.

“The convenience of its city location, proximity to the airport and light rail line, as well as access to some of Australia’s best restaurants will draw people, energy and vibrancy to the heart of Canberra’s CBD,” the company said.

Gus's Cafe

The hotel will include a dining precinct featuring a new Gus’s Cafe.

Geocon Managing Director Nick Georgalis said the hotel would define the city centre and transform Bunda Street into a modern and inviting destination.

“Geocon has embarked on a journey to bring a series of five-star hotels to Canberra,” Mr Georgalis said.

“We began that journey last year with Midnight, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel in the heart of Braddon. This new approval allows us to move onto the next piece in our plans, the Canberra City Luxury Hotel at Garema Place.”

Mr Georgalis said the two hotels would complement future hotel plans including West Block in the Parliamentary Triangle, and Geocon’s fourth luxury hotel in the Kingston Arts Precinct, a joint venture with the ACT Government.

Geocon is hoping to start construction on the city hotel by the end of 2020, with expectations it will be fully operational by 2022.

Demolition of the existing two-storey building is set to proceed in a few months after tenants have moved out.

A Geocon spokesperson said businesses had been given generous notice and offered rental premises in other Geocon sites such as Midnight in Braddon.

Geocon 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 and consolidated the two.


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61 Responses to Instagramable rooftop and new Gus’ Cafe within new greenlit Geocon Garema Place hotel development
Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 11:24 pm 02 Feb 20

Are those little one-person, standing-only balconies for smokers? They’re very strange.

Ingrid Mears Ingrid Mears 8:03 pm 02 Feb 20

Unbearable. No wonder I never go there unless I have to! 😡🤬

Byron Carn Byron Carn 2:40 am 01 Feb 20

Geocon with another approved project, what a surprise

Jacqui Donegan Jacqui Donegan 10:44 pm 31 Jan 20

Will someone please clean the footpaths in Civic? They are beyond disgusting.

Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 10:42 pm 31 Jan 20

Paved paradise

Shirley Tebbey Shirley Tebbey 8:52 pm 31 Jan 20

About time they did something with Garema Place . Whether it's the right thing or not - it couldn't get worse than it is now.

Frank Madrid Frank Madrid 7:10 pm 31 Jan 20

I hope we can have bands and DJs playing on the rooftop!

Janine Hayes Janine Hayes 1:56 pm 31 Jan 20

When do they get the naming rights to the City?

Robyn Eml Robyn Eml 1:02 pm 31 Jan 20

Awful. That’ll be the last of any nightlife in the surrounding area then?

Jen Wright Jen Wright 9:33 am 31 Jan 20

A new Gus’s cafe cannot honour heritage.

And the issue this building will create for sun access in winter is terrible.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:24 pm 01 Feb 20

    Jen Wright you mean the heritage that is only a couple of years old? You know it was rebuilt a few years back and not for the first time. So what heritage are you talking about?

    Jen Wright Jen Wright 10:09 pm 01 Feb 20

    Ashley Wright it has been given the official heritage significance title. Not my decision, simply a fact

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:04 pm 02 Feb 20

    Jen Wright I just read the official listing and between lots of waffle it seems what is heritage listed is the name and the intangible social value it brings and the location!

Pandy Pandy 8:55 am 31 Jan 20

Why this hanging on to Gus’s cafe when Gus and his service went tears as go and the new owners have never had the same standards and vibe?

If you want heritage look at Pellegrini’s cafe in Melbourne. Not redeveloped in decades and with the same menu. Yet a tourist and wedding draw card.

Michelle McDonald Michelle McDonald 8:22 am 31 Jan 20

The city has little enough character now!

Fiona Louise Matthews Fiona Louise Matthews 6:08 am 31 Jan 20

Let’s hope they don’t use the same sexist fencing in Garema that they they still have up around Woden

Mat Barber Mat Barber 5:34 am 31 Jan 20

About time, some of those old buildings are looking like dumps around garema place and the area is in desperate need of a makeover, hopefully the government can spend some of their profits in making garema place actually a nice place to be

John Moulis John Moulis 3:17 am 31 Jan 20

I'm glad to see this new development. Hopefully we have now seen the last of Gus's Cafe. The background of this man is well known and if we can cleanse Canberra of his memory then all the better. I would consider rebuilding Gus's Cafe to be the same as if we had the Gary Glitter Cafe or the Rolf Harris Cafe.

Gerard Jenkins Gerard Jenkins 2:53 am 31 Jan 20

"a new Gus's Cafe.... will maintain and honour the heritage of the site" = cash in on the name

Shane Westmore Shane Westmore 11:36 pm 30 Jan 20

Civic needs more businesses to give it character, not eyesores like this, there’s enough hotels around Northbourne already. Iori & a real estate agent have already murdered the Phoenix pub, now Gus’s is dead, what’s next?

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 10:02 am 03 Feb 20

    Shane Westmore get out of the way of progress

    Shane Westmore Shane Westmore 1:12 pm 03 Feb 20

    I’ll contact you for comment when a developer wants to knock down the 152-year-standing Old Canberra Inn in the name of progress

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:40 pm 03 Feb 20

    Shane Westmore Gus’s died years ago. There is nothing in the current location except the name that bears any resemblance to what was there before.

    Unlike the Old Canberra inn, or is it Olm’s or the Mercure? Who knows these days, either way it is a BUILDING that is worth protecting unlike a cafe that is a name that can be replicated when rebuilt. Like it has been done at least 2 times already.

Steven Chaytor Steven Chaytor 11:26 pm 30 Jan 20

Desperately needed revitalisation and economic development of civic.

Lisa LaMaitre Lisa LaMaitre 11:17 pm 30 Jan 20

My business is located around the corner from where this will be in the city.. I can’t believe this has received approval..

Karlos Madden Karlos Madden 11:04 pm 30 Jan 20

What a fugly building

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