15 October 2020

Scentre Group plans 16-storey office block in Woden

| Ian Bushnell
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Bonner House East site

An artist’s impression of the proposed building on the Bonner House East site in Woden. Images: Cox Architecture.

Shopping centre owner Scentre Group is planning to build a 16-storey commercial building in the Woden Town Centre.

The owner of Westfield Woden, Scentre Group, wants to redevelop Bonner House East which has long been a part of its property portfolio in the Town Centre.

Located on Blocks 2, 3 and 4 of Section 19, Bonner House East is near the intersection of Neptune and Callam Streets, and the proponent says it is at the end of its useful life and various schemes to refurbish, re-use, adapt or otherwise make it work have been tested.

Scentre Group has released early plans of the site for community consultation ahead of a development application.

It plans to demolish the vacant and dilapidated building and replace it with an A-Grade commercial building, with ground-floor retail and offices above occupying the corner site.

The proposed building design from Cox Architecture consists of a glass exterior with an angular pattern to reflect light, with the bulk of the structure resting on a podium.

The pre-DA information prepared by Canberra Town Planning says the ground-level spaces are designed to draw pedestrians in as they navigate between transport links, car parking and the retail hub.

The images show massive pillars at the edges of the development which ”increases the feeling of the building’s presence at street-level and gives pedestrians a sense that they are welcome inside”.

The information says the lower-level offices incorporate a terraced garden and are designed to create the podium upon which the upper section rests.

Scentre Group says the development will contribute to the revitalisation of the Woden Town Centre, which is undergoing a high-rise building boom with the nearly completed Grand Central Towers now dominating the skyline, the completed refurbished Alexander and Albemarle buildings taking residents and a range of new mixed-use developments in the pipeline from Canberra developers Geocon, Zapari and Doma Group.

The ACT Government is also going to build a new multi-storey CIT and public transport interchange where the current interchange stands and on land next to it.

This building would add in-demand quality office space to the Town Centre, and could attract a high-level tenant such as a Commonwealth agency, boosting employment opportunities.

But the concerns remain about building heights in the Town Centre, the scale of developments, potential overshadowing and a lack of green space.

The community can attend an information drop-in session to discuss and provide comments on the proposal on Thursday, 29 October, between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm at Bonner House East, 1 Neptune Street, Phillip.

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