Lendlease has won the tender to develop the historic Gold Creek Homestead Precinct in Gungahlin providing new housing opportunities and an aged care facility for Canberrans.
The company was awarded the tender to redevelop the site following a nationally advertised sale process.
About 8000 square metres of the 4.8 hectare site is home to the remnant Gold Creek Homestead dating back to 1860.
The Suburban Land Agency (SLA) ran the sale process – its second after a 2018 bid without any conditions provoked a campaign by the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) and the National Trust that forced it off the market.
But this proposal ensured the heritage value was protected through a precinct development brief put together by a community panel, including the GCC.
“After a wide-ranging and valuable engagement process with input from many stakeholders and a community panel at the end of 2019, it’s extremely pleasing to know the Gold Creek Homestead’s future will result in its conservation and restoration for the broader community to enjoy,” SLA Chief Executive Officer John Dietz said.
“The panel’s work truly captured the place and community values of the historic site to ensure its preservation in the future. The community were given a unique opportunity to articulate what was important to them prior to the site being released to the market. The preferred tender proposal responds to those important features in a unique way,” Mr Dietz said.
The SLA said key themes important to the panel included treating the visual character as a ‘rural oasis’, with a future purpose and use that offers care and support for those in need also a key aspect.
The SLA will now enter into negotiations with the preferred tenderer to finalise principles for project delivery and ongoing community engagement prior to exchanging contracts for the sale of the site.
Lendlease said the homestead site would be transformed into an intergenerational precinct while restoring and activating the treasured homestead and celebrating its heritage.
With the homestead located next to Lendlease-owned and operated retirement village, The Grove, the acquisition would allow it to deliver on its vision to create a precinct that builds on existing connections with the Ngunnawal community.
Lendlease said it aimed to protect and enhance the site’s heritage including restoring and activating the existing Gold Creek Homestead, its associated buildings and formal gardens.
It would provide housing to support the area’s aging population including independent living retirement homes and an aged care facility.
The company said it would also would deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to future residents and the broader community via public open spaces, a community hub and sustainability initiatives.
Lendlease Managing Director Retirement Living, Nathan Cockerill said the ACT Government’s decision was a vote of confidence in the company’s capability to create a thriving precinct at Ngunnawal.
“Our vision for this precinct is for it to be a place that encourages interaction between people of all ages and those living within and around the homestead,” he said.
“This will be a place where residents can enjoy the best years of their lives and be reassured that they will be supported and cared for – even if their needs change.”
Lendlease said that once the sale negotiations were completed it would start the process of designing the precinct masterplan which will involve progressive community and stakeholder consultation
Minimum requirements will apply to the redevelopment of the site such as a 5 Green Star Communities Rating, 30 per cent tree canopy cover and 30 per cent permeable surface cover as well as a public footpath and cycle link through the site to better connect the local community to the precinct.
The historic nature of the site must be respected and benchmark community precinct established.
Gungahlin Community Council president Peter Elford said the outcome was very welcome and the result of a quality community engagement by the SLA after the abortive first attempt to sell the site.
He said it produced a document that detailed what was important to the community and was factored into the selection criteria.
“So we’ve got what looks so far to be a pretty good outcome,” he said.
“They’re looking to expand the gardens and keep the best parts of the heritage buildings. The original stone building is a cracker and it would be tragic to lose that.”
Acquired by the ACT Government in 1998, the precinct is bounded by Monty Place, Gungahlin Drive and neighboring residences in Ngunnawal.