1 July 2019

Government inks deal with Geocon to deliver Kingston Arts Precinct

| Ian Bushnell
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Kingston Arts Precinct

Kingston from the air, with the Arts Precinct in purple. Images: Supplied.

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 Kingston Arts Precinct master plan.

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.

Artist's impression of the proposed precinct.

Artist’s impression of the proposed precinct.

“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.

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All sounds peachy but it seems to me the most vibrant arts environments have always arisen when artists have acted more like guerillas and taken over spaces rather than having governments stamp an area and declaring, ‘this is the arts precinct’. But it’s good to see them investing and appreciating the value of our artists (I refuse to call them ‘creatives’ – loathe that arts administrative buzz word :/ )

What is it with this government and geocon?

Capital Retro10:16 pm 01 Jul 19

As confirmed on the ABC Canberra TV news tonight, there will be home units included in the development.

bringontheevidence1:13 pm 02 Jul 19

There were always going to be units in this development. They’re even clearly marked in the master plan map included in this article.

No parking? I’m sure existing businesses will be ecstatic.

bringontheevidence1:16 pm 02 Jul 19

This project should substantially increase the number of spaces. There is no surface parking but the conditions of the project said that there should either be a multi-story carpark or alternatives that provide the same total amount of space (eg underground). I will be interesting to see which option they have gone with

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