High-density build-to-rent projects – touted as part of the solution to the housing crisis – are coming to Canberra’s suburbs if a proposed new precinct in Denman Prospect is anything to go by.
The Borough will eventually provide 700 secure and economical rentals across nine buildings designed by four different architects, including an affordable component, with on-site management, community facilities and open space.
A development application has been lodged for the $45 million first stage of two six-storey buildings and 162 apartments, with the next stage to deliver three more buildings and 200-plus apartments, followed by four buildings in the third and final stage.
The first two buildings will front Holborow Avenue and two currently unnamed roads in the Denman North area on a 10,530 sqm site.
The developer of Denman Prospect, Canberra Airport’s Capital Estate Developments, has teamed up with Jega, which developed Kingsborough in Kingston Foreshore.
Capital Estate Developments Nick McDonald Crowley said The Borough took inspiration from Kingsborough, particularly the warehouse-style apartments and its amenity.
“I thought that would work nicely trying to address some of those affordability challenges,” Mr McDonald Crowley said.
Capital Estates plan to manage the leasing, maintenance and property management of the apartments and communal areas.
Mr McDonald Crowley said this would ensure consistency and quality of service for tenants but also help drive efficiencies to keep costs down and provide affordable rentals.
He said dwellings would range from one to three-bedroom apartments, and there would be a big focus on communal and common areas to achieve extra amenity.
There would be a lot of large one-bedroom units up to 80 square metres in floor space with winter gardens and the flexibility for a second room or study.
Mr McDonald Crowley said the target market would be Canberra’s essential workers, such as nurses and young teachers who may not be able to buy their own place initially.
The development will include rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, possibly drone landing zones, secure parcel collection areas, grey water management, sustainable building materials and community gardens, including exclusive residents-only communal rooftop areas.
Also planned are pop-up shops and cafes for tenants.
There will be a combination of basement and surface parking, with 202 spaces underground and 17 above ground, bicycle spaces and ride-share pick-up and drop-off locations.
Mr McDonald Cowley said Capital Estates was responding to the shift in the market over the past few years that required developers to be innovative about providing a viable product that people could actually afford to live in and have some sense of ownership about where they lived.
The plans come as the ACT Government pushes to attract 5000 extra rentals to the Canberra market through its Build-to-Rent prospectus to industry and a range of incentives that could include lease variations and land tax concessions.
Mr McDonald Crowley said the company was drafting a submission to the government on achieving mutually acceptable outcomes.
“The government has got to listen to industry and try to work out a way that works for them and the landlords,” he said.
Mr McDonald Crowley said the company was initially unsure about high-density development in a greenfield area like Denman Prospect, but the move had been vindicated.
“If you provide the amenity – the shops, bus services, schools – our experience to date has been the take up has been stronger than anticipated,” he said.
“I’m pretty confident that the rental market will be equally as strong as the owner-occupied development in a greenfield locality.”
He said he supported attractions such as Stromlo park that appealed to a particular demographic.
Comment on the DA closes on 16 November.