27 February 2024

Prime Braddon site on the market after build-to-rent proposal falls through

| Ian Bushnell
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vacant development site

The prime site is on the corner of Northbourne and Wakefield avenues. Photos: CBRE.

Evri Group has abandoned its plans for an ambitious build-to-rent development in Braddon and put the vacant Northbourne Avenue site on the market.

CBRE has listed 220 Northbourne Avenue for sale, saying it comes with DA-approved plans for the three-building proposal, which would have added almost 400 units to the light rail corridor.

The 10,663-square-metre vacant site occupies a prime corner position, sitting on the intersection with Wakefield Avenue.

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In 2022, the ACT Government sold a 16,303 sqm site in Northbourne Avenue at nearby Turner to Canberra developer Amalgamated Property Group for $59.3 million.

Evri had originally proposed two BTR buildings and an office block, ranging in height from 25 to 45 metres, and comprising more than 48,000 sqm of GFA, including 5600 sqm of commercial and retail uses.

But the Planning Authority knocked it back last year over parking and traffic issues, among others.

In December, an amended DA for two residential buildings up to 13 storeys and a six-storey commercial building won conditional approval.

However, Evri found it hard to make the project work.

The residential buildings were to deliver 392 units, with ground-floor commercial retail space including restaurants and bars.

artist's impression of mixed-use development

An artist’s impression of the three buildings proposed in the already approved DA.

The whole development was to sit on four levels of basement parking.

Shared facilities for residents and the public were to include a gym, swimming pool, and games and function rooms.

The listing says 220 Northbourne Avenue is central Canberra’s most prominent development site.

“Positioned in close proximity to major roads, public transportation options, and the Canberra Airport, this site ensures seamless connectivity for both residents and visitors, enhancing the appeal and convenience of your future development,” it says.

“Surrounded by a vibrant and evolving area, 220 Northbourne Avenue is nestled amidst a thriving hub of amenities, with the convenience of nearby shops, restaurants, and recreational facilities, catering to the needs and desires of the growing population.”

CBRE selling agent Nic Purdue said the approved DA was a significant selling point for the site as it removed planning risk for a developer.

“The preference amongst the target market for a site like 220 Northbourne Avenue is for a clean deal – acquire the land on a clean basis and undertake the project themselves,” he said.

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Mr Purdue said there had already been a wide range of inquiries from local, national and offshore groups.

“Such a trophy development site was always going to attract a lot of interest and we have received numerous requests for the sale documents,” he said.

Expressions of interest close on 21 March.

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Anthony Peterson12:30 pm 29 Feb 24

Take note, the ACT Government sets the price for land. A dysfunctional price, because it becomes unprofitable to build affordable homes and comply with a dysfunctional planning system.

Build to Rent developments will happen in the ACT if the ACT offers a return on investment more attractive than alternative investments elsewhere. Build to rent is not a miracle that delivers affordable housing. If the policy levers and legislative settings mean that profit is diminished or reduced compared to other jurisdictions, then the capital will be spent elsewhere.

If the Government wants affordable and social housing, then it can follow its own rules and develop those properties, possibly on it’s own land.

The private sector is not a magic pudding that magically delivers affordable housing.

devils_advocate9:26 pm 04 Mar 24

“I hate it when the completely foreseeable consequences of my own actions come back to bite me!” – Barr (lol no that would require an ounce of self awareness)

Incidental Tourist3:41 pm 28 Feb 24

“The preference … is for a clean deal – acquire the land on a clean basis..” The unspoken elephant in the room is most recent tenancy legislation changes. Rent increase cap and proposed rent freeze, biased tenancy legislation combined with volatile costs and interest rates made built to rent financially nonviable.

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