One of the longest-running sagas in Canberra’s development history may finally come to an end with news that developer TP Dynamics has secured a supermarket tenant for the Giralang shops.
It’s been announced today (6 March) that IGA has signed on again for the site after last operating there in 2005.
Construction is also beginning at the site, which has been plagued by delays and disputes for the past 17 years as locals waited in vain for a functional shopping centre.
In October, TP Dynamics announced it had purchased the development site from the Giralang Property Group, who were forced to call a halt to construction because they could not finance the project without an anchor tenant. Giralang Property Group had owned the site since 1975.
TPD, which is also developing the Coles shops at Dickson, promised last year that they would have the shopping centre up and running by 2024. The site has an approved development application (DA) in place and TPD will build the complex without change to the DA.
The 1000 sqm supermarket is a key component of the site, which will also include residential development alongside retail. The supermarket will be one of seven commercial tenants on the ground floor retail area. TPD continues to seek a mix of retail tenants for the remainder of the development.
The residential component of the development will stretch across three levels above the shopping centre, including a range of apartment sizes. The IGA franchisee is believed to be Jim Singh, from service station operators Delek Group.
The shops have been the subject of seemingly endless delays and difficulties. A Legislative Assembly enquiry was called in 2021 after more than 500 local residents signed a petition demanding action on the Canopus Crescent site, which was razed for development in 2009 and has largely sat idle since.
The enquiry’s December 2021 report recommended the ACT Government write to Giralang Properties, noting that the site’s lease could be surrendered and seeking confirmation of whether the group would hand it back if they could not complete development work.
But director Dmitri Nikias told the enquiry that his group had constantly attempted to find an anchor tenant, rejecting any suggestion that the company was ‘land banking’ the site. He said continuous legal challenges and changes to the site’s size restrictions had bedevilled the development for many years.
The development fell foul of the ACT Government’s 2015 decision to limit the size of supermarkets to 1000 sqm. This decision, which also affected the Coombs shops, was later revised to a 1500 sqm limit.
The Giralang Residents Action Group welcomed news of the change in ownership late last year, describing the saga at the time as “a 17-year nightmare”.
It’s believed that the new supermarket will be open by February next year.