26 May 2021

'Inappropriate' Holiday Inn Express proposal threat to Glebe Park, say city residents

| Ian Bushnell
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Render of building

Render of proposed Holiday Inn Express hotel next to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Civic. Images: Bates Smart.

Giving the green light to a proposal for a 14-storey Holiday Inn Express hotel next to the Crowne Plaza would be a planning travesty for the southern end of the city, according to neighbouring residents.

Manhattan apartment owner Annie Greg says residents in the complex opposite the development site on the car park in front of the Crowne Plaza are up in arms about the proposed building’s height, impacts on heritage-listed Glebe Park, traffic congestion and loss of amenity.

The Salter Brothers group unveiled its plans last month for the 238-room hotel, a mid-market partner for its four-star neighbour, and has been conducting pre-DA consultation.

But the proposal on Binara Street has Manhattan residents worried about their views, property values, access and consequences for the area if a Crown lease change to remove limits on building height is allowed.

Ms Greg says that at present, that side of the street is limited to nine storeys and any change would result in height creep and overshadowing onto heritage-listed Glebe Park, residences and the Crowne Plaza itself.

She has submitted a lengthy objection to the consultation outlining these concerns and the lack of parking facilities, increase in traffic, including buses, loss of access for residents and businesses in Binara and Allara Streets, wind tunnelling, and privacy impacts.

Ms Greg also says the building design is poorly conceived and, while slim east to west, presents a broad face to the north and south. It also will have a reflective material that will increase glare.

She says the proposal would be the thin edge of the wedge for the future development of the precinct.

“If the Crown lease gets changed, that entire area is set up for a totally different environment around Glebe Park,” she said.

“We cannot see the consideration for the future environment of Canberra by sticking this hotel on this small parcel of land in the way that it’s been planned.”

She said the Crowne Plaza had already been allowed by government to encroach on Glebe Park, and it seems like it is happening again, although in a different way.

Render of the 14-storey building

Another view of the proposed hotel on Binara Street.

Residents were not opposed to development and accept urban renewal, she said, having taken in their stride the construction of the Highgate and Park Lane high-rise projects.

“They’re objecting to the fact that the development is inappropriate, poorly designed, and going beyond what is currently permissible,” she said. “It’s commercial optimisation at its worst.

“What they don’t take in their stride is when something as poorly designed as this, and as poorly executed as this, and poorly planned as this gets dumped on a handkerchief of a block.”

She questioned why a three-star hotel catering to bus tours should be built on that site.

“Why would you give a bus-package hotel prime spot next to a heritage park in front of a four or five-star hotel?” she said.

Ms Greg said she was already regularly entertained by the antics of Crowne Plaza guests, but the new hotel would be just across the street.

She said the consultation, which closed on 20 May, had been poorly run, and the proponent had misrepresented the amount of parking that Crowne Plaza would be able to provide to the new hotel, which won’t have any of its own.

It also planned to redirect overflow parking to the National Convention Centre car park, which it also manages.

“We need to do better than this in this city,” she said.

The proponent says the project has been designed to respect the environmental values of the adjoining Glebe Park, overshadowing will be limited and verge upgrades will provide better landscaping along Binara Street.

A development application is expected to be lodged next month, with construction starting around the end of 2022 and taking about 18 months.

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Yes imagine living in a high rise apartment and then complaining when more high rises go up next to it. Then grasp at straws like being close to a park, because no hotel has ever been close to a park before……The city and town centres are where high rise needs to be built. I do agree it needs car parks. It annoys the hell out of me looking for hotels with parking in cities! Clearly not everyone will be on a bus tour or fly in, there would be a lot of people who drive and want a cheaper hotel option.

It would be quite a let down to have paid over $200 for a room in the Crowne Plaza and then to find you are in the shadow of the new building and only about 10 metres away from the bedroom windows in it. They plan to provide no parking for hotel guests at all! It seems like a flawed and greedy proposal to me.

Yes, you are so right in everything you say.

It looks way better than the building it will be in front of.

What a shocking design idea – dropping a tower directly in front of the Crowne Plaza.

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