25 August 2023

Land sales in north put $32 million into government coffers

| Ian Bushnell
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An aerial view of the Belconnen Town Centre and the Belconnen Village site. Photo: SLA.

The ACT Government’s land agent, the Suburban Land Agency, has reaped more than $32 million from the sale of two blocks in Canberra’s north this week.

The 5677 sqm Belconnen Village on Lathlain Street in the Belconnen Town Centre and a 11,507 sqm block in Lawson Stage 2 by Lake Ginninderra went to auction on Wednesday (23 August).

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The mixed-use Belconnen site (Section 23 Block 6) sold for $18.25 million to Rigel Property Pty Ltd, whose director is Xi He of Deakin.

Slated for multi-unit development, the Lawson land went for $14 million to Sydney-based Marva Holdings Pty Ltd.

The vacant CZ2 zoned block in Belconnen sits on the corner of Lathlain and Cohen Streets opposite Westfield Belconnen Shopping Centre and the Belconnen transit hub.

The zoning allows multi-unit development between eight and 18 storeys, offices, hotels, serviced apartments and shops.

It has development potential for 436 dwellings, of which 55 must be affordable and seven community housing.

The site is guided by a Place Design Brief devised after a public consultation process in which people called for an intimate urban experience, better and walkable connections between precincts, open and green spaces, shared spaces and facilities, and activated street fronts, including cafes, restaurants and bars.

View of land being developed for housing

A view of the site in Lawson where up to 184 homes can be built. Photo: SLA.

A mix of mixed residential, offices and retail, including food and beverage outlets, has been identified for Lathlain Street, where a main street character could be created to complement the hospitality offering on the east side as part of the shopping mall.

This would mean upgrading Lathlain Street into an attractive shared street with low-speed limits, according to the Place Design Brief.

It says Section 23 could also include community use, such as a library or indoor sports facility on the ground floor.

“Lathlain Street will require a significant amount of design consideration and intervention to create and activate an attractive 250-metre stretch of street frontage,” it says.

As part of the sale conditions, the buyer will have to prioritise sustainability, including a 5 Green Star rating with EV charging infrastructure and encouraging active travel through end-of-trip facilities.

The sale is one of a series of land releases that aims to transform the Town Centre.

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The Lawson block (Block A, Section AB) has capacity for 81 to 184 dwellings, including 23 affordable and five community homes.

Again, there will need to be a sustainability commitment, including no gas connection, EV charging, rooftop solar and landscaping to meet the 30 per cent tree canopy provision.

CBRE marketed and sold both sites.

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