The long-awaited Kingston Arts Precinct is a step closer to becoming a reality with the ACT Government signing an agreement with Geocon to deliver the $78 million project.
A Geocon-led consortium that also included architects Fender Katsalidis and Oculus won the right to develop the precinct more than two years ago, in February 2017.
The Suburban Land Agency said in its announcement of the tender outcome at the time that the consortium’s plans included workshops, gallery spaces and offices for arts groups, visiting artist accommodation, landscaped plazas for outdoor entertainment and events, and generous parking.
Part of the urban renewal of Kingston Foreshore, the Government said the project budget included $50 million for purpose-built facilities for resident art organisations and accommodation for visiting artists.
Fender Katsalidis is well known for creating vibrant and inspirational spaces, including the New Acton Precinct and the Mona Museum.
The Suburban Land Agency will manage the next stage of the process with Geocon, with a formal community engagement process running in parallel with ongoing consultation between Geocon, artsACT and local art organisations that will move into the precinct once completed.
The Government said the announcement was a significant milestone in delivering a project which would transform the Kingston area into world-class arts and cultural hub.
Minister for Urban Renewal Rachel Stephen-Smith said progressing with the next stage of community consultation was an exciting milestone for residents, art groups and the wider Canberra community.
“Through the Suburban Land Agency and artsACT, we will work very closely with Geocon to ensure arts organisations, stakeholders and the community are provided the best possible opportunity to engage in the design process,” she said.
“The Kingston Arts Precinct will further add to the vibrancy of the Kingston Foreshore and the character of Kingston and Canberra more broadly. We’ll continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure we deliver a precinct of the highest quality with excellent design outcomes.”
Minister for Arts and Cultural Events Gordon Ramsay said the Kingston Arts Precinct would transform the area into a hive of creativity.
“The Kingston Arts Precinct will be home to some of Canberra’s leading arts organisations, with some organisations enjoying purpose-built facilities for the very first time,” he said.
“This will be a place for the community to live, work, visit, create and collaborate. We want this to be a place where locals and visitors can come together to experience the very best of our arts and culture scene.”
The first stage of community consultation will be a design briefing with key resident groups, art organisations and Fender Katsalidis and will be held in two weeks.