21 June 2018

Morris Property Group to transform City car park into 1000 apartments

| Ian Bushnell
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An artist's impression of the planned development on Section 100 in the City. Image: Supplied.

An artist’s impression of the planned development on Section 100 in the City. Image: Supplied.

The southern gateway to the City will be given a major facelift following the sale of Section 100 to ACT property development firm Morris Property Group, which plans a mixed-use development on the site, including more than 1,000 apartments.

A 2.6 hectare site sitting between London Circuit and Vernon Circle, Section 100 (formerly Section 63) is adjacent to the New Acton cultural precinct, Australian National University, City Hill and the ACT courts precinct and is at present used as a car park.

Morris Property Group (MPG) finalised the purchase of Section 100 from City West Property Holdings this week for $85 million and plans to develop the site in four stages that will include car parking, retail and apartments.

State Chief Executive of Colliers International, Paul Powderly said the site was the first part of the city centre people hit when coming in from the south on Commonwealth Avenue.

“It is smack in the middle of a major employment hub which includes many Commonwealth Government departments, and is, of course, a short walk to the city’s shops and restaurants,” he said.

Initially sold by the ACT Government in 2007 to Leighton Properties and Mirvac for $92 million, the site had stood vacant except for the car park despite its significant potential and outstanding location.

Morris Property Group was now gearing up to breathe new life into this prominent part of our city, Mr Powderly said.

“Each stage will be unique but contribute to a cohesive whole, which will be a precinct people will be excited to live in, work in or visit,” Mr Powderly said.

“Morris Property Group has been operating in Canberra for 40 years and is still a family run business. MPG’s experience and sense of family will be at the heart of this development which will be designed for multi-generational living as people choose to start out their lives in a home close to their work or study; families take advantage of the lifestyle opportunities Section 100 will present; and for older Canberrans seeking a quality, easy care home from which they can readily access all they need day-to-day while being part of the community and social life of the precinct.”

Work on Stage 1 will begin shortly.

“Fencing will be going up in coming weeks, at which point more details of the development will be unveiled. Soon people will have a chance to register their interest in making this precinct their home or next investment,” Mr Powderly said.

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Why are seventeen storeys being allowed on the edge of City Hill? What effect will it have on the cross-lake views? The ACT Government seems to have lost the plot altogether.

Capital Retro8:36 am 23 Jun 18

Why is there a perception that everyone in Canberra “has to go (drive) into the city”?

I find all the goods and services I need in Tuggeranong or Woden and I only go to the city to see movies or the occasional live show and these are at night when parking is a breeze.

And it’s a “two-way street” because people who choose to live in apartments in the city because they work there will want to “escape” the precinct occasionally and they will need a car to do that.

No problem with parking for me. I catch the bus.

Belconandonandon9:49 am 22 Jun 18

I’m glad to see that massive car park space around Vernon circle slowly getting chipped away at. I find it weird that so many people complain about apartment buildings being “eyesores”, but they have no issue with a massive open-air car park that divides Civic. A neatly designed apartment building is much better looking than sprawling asphalt. Plus it’ll inject a bit more much-needed activity into Civic.

“Much-needed activity”????

Geez. Wake up to the real world. You go out at three on a Sunday morning and tell me it’s the dead centre of the city.

“Won’t somebody think of the parking”

Seriously, do some reading. Condition of sale was that the existing carparks must be replaced by the developer – and they’ve stated it is the first thing they will be doing.

Yeah, sure. provide as many car parks as the ones that vanished – and this doesn’t happen overnight, so that’s a bunch of carparking that the regular users are denied for a year or two – and the put a thousand apartments on top. Those people have cars too, and often a couple in an apartment will have a car each. The result is a net loss of carparking.

And let me make a bold prediction here. The generous car parks will be replaced by mingy little slots, with narrow access lanes threaded through a forest of pillars, carefully planned out by accountants to the last mean millimetre.

Another big carpark disappears, to be replaced by apartments full of people with their own cars.

There’s something in the local government that hates drivers. And open space.

Are they extending Edinburgh Avenue or are they trashing the Griffin plan and making that area a shambles?

Belconandonandon9:24 am 22 Jun 18

According to the Canberra Times “[as] part of the agreement, Morris Property Group must extend Edinburgh Avenue to Vernon Circle, the same way Constitutional Avenue meets with Vernon Circle on the opposite side.”

I used to park here when I worked in the city. Knowing how many cars it can accommodate and how it gets very full very early in the day, I cannot imagine what current users will do for parking.

It’s a fine idea to want to encourage us all to use public transport, but when public transport does not serve the people well enough it’s not a fine idea at all.

Steve this carpark was sold off ages ago, it is the infamous City Wilson carpark.

What has happened here is one private company has sold to another.

Personally I am all for buildings instead of single story open carprarks like this one, provided sufficient car parking is provided at a price point that allows people the choice to park if their life circumstances insist on it (which at present is me) but at a price that makes people look towards alternatives.

Of all the redevelopments, this should be the least controversial.

It’s a single storey, flat bitumen carpark over a massive area of prime inner city land. To say it is underutilised is being generous.

Lynne hear what you are saying, but two points. Firstly the location isn’t opposite the academy of science. That is two blocks away and has buildings in between.

Secondly it is currently a carpark how do you repurpose a carpark to be sympathetic to older structures?

petunia petal5:15 pm 21 Jun 18

Does anyone ever stop and question why we need this unsustainable growth? why does our city need to have accelerated population gains… is it just to fill these shoe-boxes and provide revenue to our cash strapped gov? where are all these people going to have babies? the hospitals and health services are barely coping. Waiting times for specialist appointments are ridiculous. We need to halt this growth, my parents moved here in the 80s and loved it – my mum couldn’t believe how comfortable hospital was and recalls staying for a week after having a baby and having the nurses insist she stays the whole week to ensure she was healthy and well. Aren’t new mums booted out after 24 hrs now? Progress ?
Driving around and its undeniable that the roads feel more congested each year, particularly over the last. Having lived in Sydney I hate the thought of the city becoming more like it… Sydney CBD is soul-less, cramped and just bustling with humans, unfriendly and generally avoided by anyone who isn’t a tourist. We need to vote for politicians that aren’t going to ruin things further.

Queanbeyanite6:23 pm 28 Jun 18

What’s wrong with more people? Gordon Silverman’s definition of a human being as ”the lowest cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system that can be mass produced by unskilled labor”

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