2 July 2019

Hindmarsh's twin towers to dominate Woden skyline

| Ian Bushnell
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An illustration from the DA showing the proposed development.

Hindmarsh has scaled back plans for its massive mixed-use development in Phillip but its twin towers will still rise 25 and 26 storeys to become the tallest residential building south of the lake.

The original proposal on the corner of Easty and Wilbow Streets included four towers of between nine and 27 storeys in height, with 710 apartments, above and below ground parking, internal landscaping, and ground level commercial space.

But after community concern about its scale, overshadowing and changes to the planning laws, Hindmarsh has lodged a development application for a three-building complex sitting on a four-level podium – 25 and 26-storey towers containing 437 apartments, including penthouses, and eight town houses on the south-east of the podium.

Hindmarsh says the new design reduces the bulk and scale of the development by creating two slender towers and minimises the impact of overshadowing on nearby development and public spaces, particularly the nearby three-storey Wilara complex.

It says this also means greater privacy for residents’ living areas and private open space balconies and more sunshine, particularly those facing toward the centre of the development.

An aerial view of the car parking.

An aerial view of the proposed above-ground parking.

But Woden Valley Community Council says the development is still too big and overshadowing remains a concern. It would prefer a single tower and the rest 12 storeys or lower.

“While we welcome development in Woden, the size and scale of this development and the associated overshadowing is overwhelming and unnecessary,” President Fiona Carrick said.

As well as Willara, the site’s neighbours include the low-rise Avoca Apartments, Woden Early Childhood Centre, Canberra HealthPoint and the Woden Police Station.

The proposal also includes the ground level commercial tenancies and residential lobbies, with public car parking. Resident parking would be located in the basement, mezzanine and levels 1 and 2 of the podium, while level 3 of the podium would have communal facilities and landscaped areas.

Hindmarsh says the vision for the site is to create a precinct that focuses on connectivity and face-to-face interaction, where people can meet either intentionally or by chance and build community through common spaces.

It says the Woden Town Centre Master Plan allows for a signature building on the site and the design comprises a precinct developed around a central podium, that draws residents and visitors to a light-filled green space to connect with the residences above.

Earlier in the year, Willara resident Dione Smith launched a Legislative Assembly petition sponsored by Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur against the development.

Ms Smith, who moved into Willara at the end of 2014 and sees herself on the front line, cited overshadowing, ‘retrospective’ rezoning and inadequate traffic management infrastructure.

High-rise development is changing the face of Woden, with Geocon’s Grand Central Towers and WOVA projects, Amalgamated Property’s Ivy and Oaks developments and Doma’s refurbishment of the former office buildings near the library part of the shift to high-density living.

The eventual extension of light rail to Woden is also encouraging development with many proponents using it in their marketing.

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Another example of developers pushing large, ugly apartment blocks. Despite the community views, the shoddy ACT government will no doubt let this monstrosity go ahead as they’re desperate for revenue to fund their idiotic pet projects. I live in the Molonglo Valley and our area is being ruined by greedy developers constructing sub-standard ugly buildings that lack basic facilities, such as adequate parking. Woden needs more green space, not more high rise.

HiddenDragon6:17 pm 03 Jul 19

In the days since 18 May, the incessant Clive Palmer TV adverts seemed to have been replaced by adverts for high-rise Canberra apartments – so there’s obviously a huge demand for developments like this……

This is a good development. It is right on the main bus route to city and there really isn’t much to be over shadowing. Woden is totally dead at night and weekends. It needs this sort of thing to bring it to life. I have lived in Lyons for 15yrs and totally support high rise Woden. It is one of the most appropriate places in the whole of ACT to build that style. There simply is no view to block out. You can at least create a view with a tall tower.

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