22 April 2021

Major milestone for development changing the face of city

| Ian Bushnell
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Michael Prendergast and Michael Hopkins

JWLand National Head of Development Michael Prendergast and Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins at the Founders Lane topping out ceremony. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

An important milestone has been reached in a development that is not only changing the face of the eastern side of the city but will transform the economic dynamics of the area.

Canberra developer JWLand has marked the topping out of the final two stages of its landmark $500 million Founders Lane project on Cooyong Street, with construction expected to be complete in the final quarter of this year and the first residents moving in early 2022.

Dawn and SOL will deliver a total of 448 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, taking the entire precinct to 781 apartments, in addition to commercial tenancies.

Where once there was ageing public housing, there will now be a modern mixed-use precinct that will also have commercial and retail space to complement the Canberra Centre opposite.

JWLand National Head of Development Michael Prendergast said the residential component would provide the activity to support the new commercial and retail opportunities, something that had previously been missing in that a part of town.

JWLand's Founders Lane development

JWLand’s Founders Lane development will change the dynamic on the eastern side of Civic.

Founders Lane was part of a city-wide rejuvenation with more people working and living in Civic and adjacent suburbs such as Braddon.

“For the 10 years prior to this we didn’t have the actual activity to support the commercial and the retail – now its happening through Founders Lane and other projects, so it is starting to piece the octagon back together again on our side and also on the other side of the city close to the university,” he said.

He said the topping out of the the final two stages was a massive milestone for the company and the precinct, particularly when it has occurred in the middle of a pandemic.

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Construction of the final two Founders Lane buildings began in May 2020, a time of considerable economic uncertainty.

“We decided to commence the design, procurement and construction in the middle of a pandemic and there was so much uncertainty but we stand here today knowing that there has been more than 3000 people inducted on to the site and the construction team are overseeing regularly up to 200 people on site, which is real testament to the size and scale of the site,” Mr Prendergast said.

It was also JWLand’s first project since establishing its own construction division.

Mr Prendergast said the transition to a fully integrated company offered significant benefits to end users.

“By controlling the process from planning and design, right through construction to the sales and marketing of our projects, we can ensure that a higher quality result is delivered to our occupants,” he said.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins praised JWLand’s courage and resilience for taking on the project at this difficult time.

“Projects like Founders Lane have an incredible economic benefit with every $1 spent resulting in $3 in economic return and thousands of local employment opportunities,” he said.

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