Ross and Lorraine Hanna aren’t moving far but it will be a lifestyle change for them when they move into their new home in The Parks development on the former Red Hill public housing site.
Long-time Inner South residents, they wanted to move from a very large old house on Monaro Crescent in Griffith into something more manageable – but stay in the neighbourhood.
They will move into the tri-level, three-bedroom, double-garage The Oak, which has a lift for easy movement and a high energy efficiency at 7.5 stars.
“We can’t wait,” Lorraine said. “And and when we get back to travelling it’ll be easy just to lock up and get going.”
Construction has started at the $260 million high-end housing precinct which is a mix of terraces and apartments being jointly developed by national developer Stockland and Canberra’s Doma Group.
A sod-turning and ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday (24 March) marked the construction start and the opening of the central Lady Nelson Park.
Stockland will also deliver 25 land lots yielding 108 single-dwelling sites, as well as 83 premium terraces. Doma will build 136 apartments across six buildings.
Stockland’s Regional Manager, Callum Ross said the project had experienced strong demand with all the land lots sold and half the terraces taken.
He said the first homes should be completed later this year and the remaining terraces in 18 months to complete all the town homes.
Construction on the land lots should also commence soon.
Mr Ross said the strength of the Canberra economy was a big attraction for Stockland and it had more projects in mind.
“The strength of the economy is amazing and that’s one of the reasons we looked at this project and are looking to do many more in Canberra because we see its as a high-growth area where people really want to come and live for the lifestyle you get here – between the mountains and the beach, and you get the best of all worlds,” he said.
While Canberra’s property market is running hot, Mr Ross said that compared with other areas such as Sydney, it was still relatively affordable.
“We see a lot of people moving out of Sydney and other areas where affordability is really stretched at the moment,” he said.
Stockland had land investments in the Canberra region that it would like to unlock in the next few years but these would be subdivisions rather than Red Hill-style developments.
“If we could buy a lot more like this I’m sure we would,” he said.
“This is a once in a lifetime kind of project in Red Hill of this scale.”
The pandemic slowed the development’s progress early last year but since then it had been smooth sailing apart from consultation to allay community concerns and remediation of the site to remove asbestos left by the old public housing buildings.
Doma Managing Director Jure Domazet said that in contrast to Sydney and Melbourne demand for apartments had been strong across all of the company’s projects.
He said there was a lot of government activity and work in Canberra and that would continue for the next few years.
“In Sydney and Melbourne you’ve seen the city empty out, that hasn’t happened here,” he said.
“The apartment market in those cities is really degraded whereas in Canberra that hasn’t been the experience because we haven’t had that exodus from the CBD.”
The park features a wide range of play equipment including a tower, custom slide, birds nest swing, rock-climbing structure, a shade structure and bench tables.