5 April 2018

More than 400 apartments proposed for Northbourne Avenue site

| Ian Bushnell
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The Soho site fronts Northbourne Avenue for about 500 metres. Precinct E is at the southern end.

The former site of public housing between Northbourne Avenue and Dooring Street in Dickson is to be redeveloped into more than 400 apartments in a multi-building project up to nine storeys high, according to a development application from the Art Group.

In 2016, the ACT Government sold the 500 metre-long Northbourne East Precinct site between Morphett and Dooring Streets for $40 million to the Art Group, which renamed it Soho.

The Art Group has plans to redevelop the site into five precincts and has lodged a DA for the first stage at the southern end.

The proposed $93 million development includes six buildings, connected at basement and mezzanine levels, that comprise 409, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, of which 42 are adaptable units.

Three of the buildings are nine storeys, one seven, and two seven and eight storeys, with basement and mezzanine parking of 644 spaces, including 582 residential, 42 accessible parking spaces, 62 visitor and 24 motorcycle spaces.

Building heights along Northbourne Avenue will be up to 25 metres.

The Soho concept plan. The DA covers Precinct E.

Each building will have a mix of one, two and three bedroom units, each with a terrace or balcony for private open space. The DA lists 78 one-bedroom units, 294 two-bedroom units, and 18 one and two storey terrace apartments facing Northbourne Avenue at the ground level and first floor.

Roof top gardens are planned for tenants to use above the three buildings adjacent to Dooring Street, including a pool garden for the building furthest to the south, an edible garden for the central building along the eastern side of the block and a Zen garden for the northern building along the eastern boundary.

Two pedestrian thoroughfares are planned through the site linking Northbourne Avenue and Dooring Street.

The total Soho Precinct fronts the eastern alignment of Northbourne Avenue south of Morphett Street for about 500 metres. In the northern area, it backs on to single dwelling houses in the RZ4 Medium Density Residential Zone, while in the south it backs on to Dooring Street.

An analysis for the DA identifies ‘minimal’ traffic impacts as a result of the development of precincts one and five, although it does see a loss of performance for Dooring Street which will take most of the load.

The proposed development is part of the Government’s urban renewal vision for Northbourne Avenue, driven by the light rail project.

It is subject to both the Territory Plan and the National Capital Plan.

To view the DA go here.

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Capital Retro9:32 am 07 Apr 18

What is a Zen garden?

62 visitor car parks isn’t many! In fact, there aren’t enough car parking spaces full stop by the look of it. There will be some couples buying a one-bedroom flat to get into the housing market, and presumably many of them will own a car each. Will those second cars occupy the visitor spaces? It looks as though the two-bedroom flats haven’t been given two car parks each. I’ve noticed in many Braddon developments that the car parking spaces are so mingy that residents decide to park in the street instead. Watch out for nuisance verge parking all over Dickson as a result of this planning that doesn’t take account of people’s actual, as opposed to idealised, car ownership …

Phil on Mort7:08 pm 06 Apr 18

Probably everything new along Northbourne is going to have terrible parking, the developers probably able to justify it legally now by being along the tram line.

IQ apartments on Mort Street in Braddon has decent enough spaces for residents, my big ute fits no problems. Not sure if you get two spots for two bedrooms, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the car park entirely full, so it’s hard to really tell if any residents are forced to park out the front. The (limited) visitor parking here says it’s reserved for short-stay apartments, specifically says not for residents visitors.

Improved Haig Park is busier now, so maybe parking north of there in Braddon heavier, boarded up Northbourne Flats also probably got people feeling braver to park up that way and walk through the park.

Braddon is just incredibly busy most of the time and has terrible parking, hard to tell here if the apartments are contributors, but if they are I wouldn’t think they’d be the core problem. I am only going on IQ apartments on Mort Street and what I see out the front, got no idea on the rest of the place. Most of people parking out front here seem to head towards Lonsdale Street, presumably where they couldn’t get a park.

I am a Rabbit™10:54 pm 06 Apr 18

I’m the last person to defend developers or the government, but it’s really not the responsibility of either of them that people in the ACT are incapable of looking after their own transport needs. You would think we are all children based on the amount of chest thumping that goes on about everyone needing their own individual car.

Nuisance parking calls for stronger regulations and policing – the idea of forcing every development to have a minimum of two car parks per apartment is simply absurd. Considering the social/environmental cost of cars, I reckon we should just tax/fine those people out of existence… They need to learn to catch PT, walk/bike/run, or actually communicate with others to organise carpooling…

The ACT is probably the worst in Australia for this issue. We have infantised adults to the point they’re not capable of taking care of themselves without a car. People need to start taking responsibility for their own lives and commutes.

Phil on Mort10:54 am 07 Apr 18

If an apartment complex supplies one car space per bedroom, then surely they’re doing the right thing to stop nuisance parking by ensuring their residents are not forced to park on adjacent streets. That’s not absurd, it’s responsible community behavior by developers building for a society STILL based around cars.

It’s easy to say people have to ‘learn’ how to catch PT, or walk/bike/run when you’re someone who does those things for your own transport, but that’s basing their requirements on your own situation which you see as practical.

For me in the city now it is convenient, I rarely now use my car, but I used to live in Dunlop and work in Fyshwick, a 60km round trip daily. Although I ride a lot, it was too much on a bike for me, and the hours I worked meant public transport wasn’t possible. No one I worked with lived near me so carpooling was also out of the question. It wasn’t a matter of ‘learning’ a new way to get to work, I needed a car.

I’m not chest thumping about it, but blaming people in Canberra for driving cars is just nitpicking something you obviously yourself have a problem with. I’m not sure if ‘those people’ who you think should be taxed/fined out of existence are all car owners, or just those in apartments, either way it’s not much of an argument.

Back to IQ apartments in Mort Street, I’ve since found out there are two spots for two bedroom apartments here, so I’d be pretty sure the people here are not contributing to the parking problems in Braddon. Like I said above, I think that’s responsible behavior of the developers, whether it be regulated by law or not.

That is a great suggestion that is completely impractical for many people.

As someone who has children who do things ranging from martial arts classes, swimming lessons, football games/practice after hours school band, dog obedience classes etc., it is impossible for us to get our kids to attend those events just using public transport.

Sure if you don’t have children, or only have one, or aren’t interested in getting your kids involved in things then you can probably easily live without a car.

For many of the rest of us, a car is essential and to suggest we should be punished for it is ignorant and insulting.

bringontheevidence2:56 pm 08 Apr 18

No one is suggesting you be punished for owning a car, they’re just saying that the rest of the community shouldn’t be subsidising your choice. If you are using free public parking to store your vehicle, you’re essentially getting a subsidy from the community.

It’s pretty simple, if you choose to own two cars, you should rightfully face the full cost of owning two cars, i.e. buying a dwelling with two spots or paying for a permanent parking space somewhere nearby.

“No one is suggesting you be punished for owning a car,”

Actually Rabbit does indeed seem to be suggesting that.

In defence of some developers, I noticed that in Coombs there are some streets that are almost unusable due to excessive cars parked along the road besides apartments and units.

At first I thought the developers were doing a really bad job of providing parking until I walked through some of the complexes. What I found was that the developer was generally providing two parks per unit but:

Some people obviously have more than two cars.
Many people are using their car parking (garage) as a storage area and thus having to park elsewhere.

Whether this storage issue is entirely the residents fault or whether it is the developer’s fault for not providing a storage area for each unit is debatable. However it does seem more complex than simply providing two carparks per unit.

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