Geocon’s plans for a five-star high-rise hotel in Garema Place have struck opposition from the ACT Greens due to overshadowing concerns and potential impacts on entertainment venues and nightlife in the city.
The Greens have again called for designated entertainment precincts in the town centres and Civic.
But Geocon has rejected the concerns, saying the development will add to entertainment options and nightlife in the city, and that Garema Place will get enough sunshine, particularly in the winter.
Geocon lodged a development application in May for the 16-storey, 50 metre high hotel between Garema Place and Bunda Street, which the Greens say will be almost as tall as the QT Hotel, and taller sections of The Canberra Hospital.
Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur said the proposed building on the north side of Garema Place would see the open space largely shaded from before 9 am until after 11 am during winter.
“This raises the question – do we want a dark, cold, overshadowed city centre like the worst parts of Sydney CBD, or a sunny, enjoyable place to spend time? The Greens believe this is not a suitable site, given the height of the proposed development and potential for significant overshadowing,” Ms Le Couteur said.
Government Minister and ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said entertainment venues in the area faced the possibility of noise complaints from the hotel.
“Garema Place and Bunda Street are thriving night spots. The Greens want to see noise attenuation measures in place, so we can limit the risk of noise complaints in the area. This insulation would mean that Garema Place and Bunda Street can continue to be the noisy heart of Canberra’s nightlife,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Ms Le Couteur said this proposal and others in the city was why the Greens had been pushing for the Government to create designated entertainment precincts in our planning zones to help settle some of these issues.
“This should be a priority, particularly given this hotel proposal and the rate of new apartment blocks going up around the city,” she said.
A Geocon spokesperson said the new world-class hotel in Garema Place would deliver more entertainment and night-time activities including bars, eateries and a signature restaurant of the like Canberra’s hasn’t seen before, as well as vastly increasing the vibrancy and foot traffic to the area of 400 to 600 guests daily plus several hundred staff coming and going, day and night.
“A brand-new luxury hotel experience at Garema Place will embrace this location’s potential for vibrancy and activation at all hours of the day and night, and boost the surrounding businesses by attracting guests and visitors,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said there would be direct sunlight in Garema Place at all times of the day, and the plans met the legislative criteria to ensure areas remain substantially sunlit, particularly between 12 noon and 2pm on the winter solstice (21 June).
“We have commissioned world-renowned Fender Katsalidis Architects, who created the NewActon precinct and the Nishi building, to bring to life our vision of a sculptural icon that will define the heart of the city, and, we will introduce a bold, new hotel brand to Canberra that will reflect the city’s status as Australia’s national capital,” the spokesperson said.