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Plan for site next to Assembly scaled back

By Charlotte Harper - 27 January 2016 13

Development site

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”.

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.”

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13 Responses to
Plan for site next to Assembly scaled back
miz 6:28 am 29 Jan 16

Woden is geographically more central than Civic. There is no reason why the Assembly must be in Civic – perhaps it could go on rotation like Courts do.

gooterz 12:06 am 29 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

“The developer would be required to include an underground carpark.”

For whom?

The people whom live in the apartment. Maybe the highest levels of government.. Both of which will be empty for half the day.
Seeing the people living there probably work elsewhere and government employees will park there during the day and the other 16 hours will be vacant.

At the moment the car park is used about 18 hours a day.

But that’s ok. 90% of the workforce will catch the light rail. Even the people from Tuggeranong whom will have to park in Gungahlin.

wildturkeycanoe 2:32 pm 28 Jan 16

So they put 1100 people into Woden, now they are putting 3800 back into Civic and Dickson. From where, Woden? Belconnen? Shuffling people about like this is the reason we have traffic problems. Those who settled down in the satellite offices now have to add to the commuter chaos into the city. For what? To make another developer richer on the coat tails of the ratepayer. We all know the government is inept but how much longer are we going to put up with this?

mcs 2:01 pm 28 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

I note that “more apartments” are planned for whatever development takes place on this land.
On ABC Radio on Tuesday night, Daryl Dixon reported that the Canberra home unit industry was not a good investment scene at present with a lot of investors who bought off the plan finding that banks who pledged finance on completion were reneging or conditioning the loan approval by asking for more deposit.
This was forcing some to walk away thus losing the deposit already paid. He advised caution in buying off the plan despite record low interest rates..
While the ACT government may see more home units as the panacea to raise more revenue to meet the Territory’s commitments, the banks obviously perceive some risk in oversupply.

I have little sympathy for anyone silly enough to buy off the plan in the current market, unless they are being very, very careful with what they are purchasing, i.e. are buying the higher end quality units in prime locations/developments that are likely to hold their value.

Anyone else in my book, given the glut of units (in particular 1 bedroom units) is just playing with fire.

dungfungus 9:08 am 28 Jan 16

I note that “more apartments” are planned for whatever development takes place on this land.
On ABC Radio on Tuesday night, Daryl Dixon reported that the Canberra home unit industry was not a good investment scene at present with a lot of investors who bought off the plan finding that banks who pledged finance on completion were reneging or conditioning the loan approval by asking for more deposit.
This was forcing some to walk away thus losing the deposit already paid. He advised caution in buying off the plan despite record low interest rates..
While the ACT government may see more home units as the panacea to raise more revenue to meet the Territory’s commitments, the banks obviously perceive some risk in oversupply.

rubaiyat 11:07 pm 27 Jan 16

rommeldog56 said :

gooterz said :

Why not just put the assembly in Woden. Should be cheaper than civic. Free up the land and cut down on rent. Putting bigger business in that prime position.

That would be because the tram goes to Civic (right next to the proposed new building ?) so will increase tram passenger numbers.

The tram will probably not make it to Woden – or Tuggers/Lanyon, for decades – if at all.

Go get a Tram shaped piñata and take all your fears, rage and irrational loathing out on that.

…maybe you’ll feel better.

…but probably not.

gooterz 8:17 pm 27 Jan 16

Maya123 said :

gooterz said :

Why not just put the assembly in Woden. Should be cheaper than civic. Free up the land and cut down on rent. Putting bigger business in that prime position.

You are suggesting that Civic is killed off even more? I don’t agree. Canberra should have a city centre, and as part of that the Assembly should be there. The mall though has done most of the destroying and in my opinion should never have been allowed to grow bigger than the old Monaro Mall. I believe we would have a much more recognisable city centre now without it.
People come to a city and expect there should be a recognisable CBD and that’s Civic, not Woden. Civic should be given lots of help to be the CBD.
Civic is also more central for public transport travel. While travel to Woden might be more convenient for those living in the Woden area (do you, I was wondering?), it is a lot further for those in say Gungahlin, and would involve getting another bus. Civic is the most convenient for bus travel averaged out across Canberra.

More central for whom? Gungahlin to woden is 2 buses. Tuggeranong to Woden is 2 buses. Belconnen to Woden is two busses. 1 bus to Queanbeyan. Given most of the jobs are in civic woden belconnen doesn’t it make more sense to put more jobs more south where more than half the population live? I can tell you live in Gungahlin.

Why does the assembly have to be in Civic? What does the assembly have to be near? Nothing

The assembly and public service is something we have to have. Its not like we have to attract the assembly to Canberra with probably the most expensive block of land in the capital.
We have issues with job spread and nothing is gained by having the assembly and public workforce in civic.
Given light rail is going to take ages to build and will tie up capacity along northboune it makes more sense to have more jobs out of civic and have new investors to Canberra have the chance to move into the prime spots. The probability of a new investor moving into London circuit is higher than one moving into Woden. So why waste a good spot on government workers.

HiddenDragon 6:58 pm 27 Jan 16

“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.”

It’s just as well that Canberra households have unlimited amounts of money – otherwise, the higher rates and taxes required now and in the future, to fund this “stimulus” and service the resultant debt, might detract from spending and employment in other sectors of the ACT economy.

farq 6:21 pm 27 Jan 16

> the small carpark for MLAs was then and is now slated to remain.

Of course it is. Meanwhile they gut the city of any parking spaces and push everyone onto public transport.

This is a classic example of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

> “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.

If they only way to save town centres is to move public servants around, do we really need the extra office space? Seems like they are shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Maya123 4:21 pm 27 Jan 16

gooterz said :

Why not just put the assembly in Woden. Should be cheaper than civic. Free up the land and cut down on rent. Putting bigger business in that prime position.

You are suggesting that Civic is killed off even more? I don’t agree. Canberra should have a city centre, and as part of that the Assembly should be there. The mall though has done most of the destroying and in my opinion should never have been allowed to grow bigger than the old Monaro Mall. I believe we would have a much more recognisable city centre now without it.
People come to a city and expect there should be a recognisable CBD and that’s Civic, not Woden. Civic should be given lots of help to be the CBD.
Civic is also more central for public transport travel. While travel to Woden might be more convenient for those living in the Woden area (do you, I was wondering?), it is a lot further for those in say Gungahlin, and would involve getting another bus. Civic is the most convenient for bus travel averaged out across Canberra.

rommeldog56 4:00 pm 27 Jan 16

gooterz said :

Why not just put the assembly in Woden. Should be cheaper than civic. Free up the land and cut down on rent. Putting bigger business in that prime position.

That would be because the tram goes to Civic (right next to the proposed new building ?) so will increase tram passenger numbers.

The tram will probably not make it to Woden – or Tuggers/Lanyon, for decades – if at all.

gooterz 2:21 pm 27 Jan 16

Why not just put the assembly in Woden. Should be cheaper than civic. Free up the land and cut down on rent. Putting bigger business in that prime position.

dungfungus 12:39 pm 27 Jan 16

“The developer would be required to include an underground carpark.”

For whom?

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