QIC unveils plans for smaller development on key city site

Ian Bushnell 4 June 2020 31
The proposed development

Still substantial: an artist’s impression of the development from Cooyong Street, looking south-west. Images: Purdon Planning.

The owners of the Canberra Centre have unveiled plans for a much smaller development on Section 96 in the city that nonetheless includes five towers on a single-storey podium.

Queensland Investment Corporation is preparing to lodge an application to amend its previously approved development application for the site, currently a surface car park and the source of some angst over the amount of time it has lain idle.

The state-owned investment company has been criticised for taking so long to develop the prime site bound by Cooyong Street, Scotts Crossing, Narellan Street and Genge Street, leading to accusations of ‘land banking’.

QIC flagged that it would be scaling back its approved 2017 proposal last year when it lodged new plans for a three-level basement car park instead of five.

Proposed development looking south-east

The proposed development looking south-east.

At the time it said the above-ground development would be about 10,685 square metres less than the currently approved DA.

The 2017 proposal was for a 10-storey office tower, a 12-storey hotel tower and 12-storeys of apartments.

QIC foreshadowed an amended DA that would include a mix of retail and office space, a boutique hotel, commercial services and a retirement living complex on the site, with building heights remaining about the same as before.

The new plans do not mention retirement living or office space. They retain the shops, services, hotel, and serviced apartments, and add a landscaped open spaces complex.

Pedestrian-focused precinct

QIC says the development will be a new vibrant pedestrian-focused city precinct.

They also include closure of Scotts Crossing and Narellan Street to through-traffic to create a larger landscaped pedestrian precinct.

Purdon Planning says the proposed development will revitalise the city centre consistent with Government policy, increase mixed-use development, and provide more commercial accommodation.

It also says there will be boutique retailing at ground level with an emphasis on market-style food and a new piazza and landscaped pedestrian spaces along Narellan Street, Scotts Crossing and Cooyong Street.

The development will create a new vibrant pedestrian-focused city precinct, and will support other businesses in the local area, Purdon says.

Section 96 carpark

Section 96 is currently a car park.

Last year QIC said it still planned to construct a slip lane on Cooyong Street between Scotts Crossing and Genge Street, and an access ramp to existing car parks in Scotts Crossing, which would be be ‘pedestrianised’ between Cooyong and Bunda Streets. New traffic lights were planned for the intersection of Cooyong and Torrens streets.

It said the number of spaces in the basement car park, with access via Cooyong and Narellan Streets, would be 713, instead of 1118, plus bicycle and motorbike spaces, although QIC said that it had built 197 spaces on Section 97 in 2012 and there would be excess parking within the Canberra Centre.

Last year QIC said changes in the struggling retail industry and the residential and office markets had prompted it to revise its plans, but the deteriorating economy during the COVID-19 crisis may have forced it to make further changes.

The proposed development will be considered by the National Capital Design Review Panel before going to the planning authority.

A fly-through video of the proposed development has been prepared.


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31 Responses to QIC unveils plans for smaller development on key city site
John Kerry Tozer John Kerry Tozer 10:29 pm 08 Jun 20

Great! More reasons not to go near Civic!

Dan Hawcroft Dan Hawcroft 9:49 pm 08 Jun 20

👆this fake profile from the developers marketing agency is next level funny.

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 10:26 pm 08 Jun 20

    Dan Hawcroft Ha!!! just here to keep Canberra’s massive sooks re growth, in check. You didn’t reply to my first question BTW.. not other suggestions?

Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 9:43 pm 08 Jun 20

Looks terrific! The piazza area is so much better than more internal mall. Hopefully the NIMY’s don’t hold much sway and it’s developed as promised

Martin Ross Martin Ross 9:01 am 08 Jun 20

More concrete jungle just so Labor can get more dollars 🤦🏼‍♂️

John Hynes John Hynes 8:46 am 08 Jun 20

A wonderful development for people within walking distance.

Petra Solazzini Petra Solazzini 8:25 am 08 Jun 20

Is it going to provide housing for the homeless?

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 9:37 pm 08 Jun 20

    Petra Solazzini what a simplistic observation of homelessness.

    Petra Solazzini Petra Solazzini 9:13 am 09 Jun 20

    Elroy Jones thank you for your kind comment. It warms my heart to think that a complete stranger wishes to engage in a constructive exchange. 🤗

Fabio Fabbo Fabio Fabbo 11:56 pm 07 Jun 20

Sad, bad decisions & more disappointed about my home.... The bush capital turning into a concrete jungle

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 9:02 am 08 Jun 20

    Fabio Fabbo this will be built on an existing concrete carpark. Unless you believe concrete carparks make the 'bush capital', what exactly are you complaining about.

    Fabio Fabbo Fabio Fabbo 9:16 am 08 Jun 20

    Aesthetics & I've grown up here. This is a negative change in the name of progress.

    Next Canberra will be looking more like overdeveloped cities in USA

    Fabio Fabbo Fabio Fabbo 9:17 am 08 Jun 20

    Nobody likes too much wind

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 12:33 pm 08 Jun 20

    Fabio Fabbo I'm not sure a concrete carpark is overly appealing to the eyes & I've grown up here. Do you often stand at Cooyong Street looking at the concrete carpark in admiration and think "beautiful, I'm in Canberra and not the USA".

    It is clear you are against multi level development but are for the preservation of open space. Your positions conflict with each other. If we don't increase density, and I'd think the CBD is the right place for that, we will require more land to achieve the same result.

    Where you live was once open space.

    Michael Axelsen Michael Axelsen 1:05 pm 08 Jun 20

    Brent Hutch can u let Fabbio know where all the green space is going to be in the city please

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 1:11 pm 08 Jun 20

    Michael Axelsen there is giant park over a purpose built pedestrian bridge 5-10minutes walk... Commonwealth Park. Then Glebe Park, Veterans Park, Haig Park and if you're brave enough you can venture up to City Hill. There are smaller pockets of green space along Ainslie Ave and around Marcus Clark St. If you feel like a longer trek, Mt Ainslie reserve is around 20-25mins walk.

    Fabio Fabbo Fabio Fabbo 3:41 pm 08 Jun 20

    Thanks Michael AxAxelsen and Brent Hutch

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:18 pm 08 Jun 20

    So you prefer instead farm land and bushland bulldozed.

Bill O'Neill Bill O'Neill 11:36 pm 07 Jun 20

The city needs more people living within it to help create a cosmopolitan feel that extends beyond just the normal business hours

Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 7:49 pm 07 Jun 20

QIC already control something like 10% of the retail space in the city, and commercial tenants can't be found for much of it.

This will just increase the amount they control and further pull shoppers and value away from the City Walk and Garema Place area.

The land was sold with an understanding that it would bring permanent residents in to activate the economy in the existing city properties, not steal traffic from them.

Sally Tregellas Wodzinska Sally Tregellas Wodzinska 7:00 pm 07 Jun 20

No sun, towering buildings and a east/west wind tunnel. Cooying Street isn't exactly an attractive view from an outdoor area. I dont think I'll be visiting.

Robert McMahon Robert McMahon 6:44 pm 07 Jun 20

Any approval should be contingent on 20% affordable housing for older people and key workers.

    Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 6:52 pm 07 Jun 20

    Robert McMahon not in the city.

    Michael Drew Michael Drew 6:53 pm 07 Jun 20

    Robert McMahon good idea but no chance of it happening.

    Elroy Jones Elroy Jones 9:35 pm 08 Jun 20

    Robert McMahon no one would build it

    Gregg Heldon Gregg Heldon 7:37 pm 09 Jun 20

    Robert McMahon agree but unfortunately, unlikely to happen here in Canberra. It would in Europe though.

    Robert McMahon Robert McMahon 8:30 pm 09 Jun 20

    Gregg Heldon I think they had *some* success with it in Sydney and Melbourne.

    Gregg Heldon Gregg Heldon 8:31 pm 09 Jun 20

    Robert McMahon any city would have success with such a scheme

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 6:26 pm 07 Jun 20

Yet another wind corridor.

Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 5:33 pm 07 Jun 20

How dreadful! Turning the place into cold windy canyon city

Donna Burns Donna Burns 4:34 pm 07 Jun 20

Is that 5 towers of apartments?

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