21 October 2019

November start for Curtin shops development after demolition plan approved

| Ian Bushnell
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Artists's impression of the development

A render of the proposed development at 41 Curtin Place. Photo: Supplied.

The controversial Curtin shops redevelopment is expected to get underway next month with the planning authority giving the green light to demolition plans.

Work to demolish the vacated building at 41 Curtin Place will now begin towards the end of October. It is expected to take two to three weeks.

Construction on the five-storey mixed-use development will then start and is expected to be completed in 12 months.

It will be welcome news to business owners and the community who have had to deal with a derelict building sucking the vitality out of the shopping centre after a long and bitter row over the redevelopment.

The developer says it will be talking to affected businesses soon.

It is the latest chapter in a development saga that initially saw the community rally against the plans of the Haridemos family for a six-storey building but tire of the conflict when the Curtin Community Association continued the fight when concessions were won.

The owner had come under fire for ending leases at the shops in anticipation of the six-storey proposal being approved, fencing off the building and removing asbestos.

After a vigorous campaign led by the Association, the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) knocked back the proposal, a master plan was developed with community consultation and the family eventually resubmitted a scaled-back proposal for reconsideration. A storey was taken off, setbacks increased and the number of residential units was reduced from 50 to 36.

Its conditional approval late last year sparked the next round of conflict, with the Association continuing to argue the proposal was still out of character with the village nature of the shops, too imposing and would overshadow the square, taking ACTPLA to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for what it called a flawed process.

But the community and businesses affected by the protracted dispute were tired of the delay, and the Association became increasingly isolated, eventually withdrawing its ACAT action in June to clear the way for the development.

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Great news. It’s time that some juice was injected into the tired old centre.

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