The ACT Government has once again scaled back its plan for office space adjacent to the Legislative Assembly in Civic despite having last year shortlisted six firms to complete construction of a more extensive development by late 2018.
The six players involved will now be invited to submit proposals for a commercial version of the development on the site of the carpark between London Circuit, Constitution Avenue and the end of Theatre Lane, with the Government committing to lease up to 20,000 square metres within it from private owners.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Government anticipated that the private sector would see this as “an opportunity to undertake a major development and potentially include apartments as well as commercial space on this site”.
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The developer would be required to include an underground carpark.
When the Government first flagged redeveloping the site in 2010, the plans were far grander, including new offices for ACT ministers and a bridge between the building and the existing Legislative Assembly (the small carpark for MLAs was then and is now slated to remain).
The Government still wants to bring public servants to Civic, and will lease 20,000 square metres in existing vacant Civic office space in addition to leasing the section of the new development.
Up to 3800 public servants will be relocated to Civic and Dickson (as well as Woden as reported last year) as part of the Government’s plan to stimulate the ACT economy, create jobs in the local building industry and renew town centres.
“The renewal of our town centres is a priority for my government, and our recent decision to relocate 1,100 public servants to Woden was a major boost to the town centre,” Mr Barr said.
He said the move would help drive economic activity to the city centre during the working week and support further job growth and creation.
“The construction of office accommodation continues our efforts to supply a steady flow of infrastructure projects in the city, and many retailers in the city centre will benefit from a stronger trade from Monday to Friday,” he said.
“Up to 13,000 square metres will be leased in a new development in Dickson and up to 15,500 square metres will be leased in existing but untenanted buildings in the Woden town centre.”
Approximately 1700 staff would be accommodated in Civic, 1000 in Dickson and 1100 in Woden.
“The Dickson development will be on the site of the Motor Vehicle Registry and will be a major part of the renewal of Northbourne Ave,” Mr Barr said.
“It too will have the capacity to include apartments and commercial space and will be adjacent to a new Capital Metro station and new bus interchange. A call for Expressions of Interest will be released, to be followed by a tender process.”
The Chief Minister said the outcome of the registration of interest process to lease up to 15,500 square metres of currently unoccupied office space in Woden would be announced shortly.
“Also included in the strategy is the sale of major ACT Government owned buildings such as Macarthur House, Dame Pattie Menzies House, the Motor Vehicle Registry site and 1 Moore Street under the Commonwealth Government’s Asset Recycling Initiative.”