Seven-storey office complex to rise on One City Hill

Ian Bushnell 20 August 2021 27
One City Hill office development

An artist’s impression of the proposed One City Hill office development on Vernon Circle. Image: GMB Architects.

Morris Property Group has unveiled its revised development plans for One City Hill – a seven-storey office complex with ground floor retail and hospitality.

MPG had proposed a mixed-use residential project for the more than 10,000 square-metre site on Blocks 10 and 11, Section 100 in the city next to the law courts, but abandoned those plans because of the pandemic saying it eroded the demand for accommodation from international students.

It has now lodged a Works Application with the National Capital Authority, saying the new proposal will provide a highly flexible, sustainable and innovative workplace environment that will contribute positively to the urban life of Canberra City.

It comprises two distinct but connected buildings with a curved, 25 metre-high frontage to Vernon Circle, double-height colonnade and textured louvre screen which the planning document says will align with the adjacent court building and reinforce the civic nature of City Hill.

One City Hill Knowles Place entrance

The main building entry at Knowles Place. Image: GMB Architects.

Knowles Place will be extended through the site to Edinburgh Avenue and surrendered to the ACT Government as a public road upon completion.

The extension has been designed with a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly shared zone to slow traffic and encourage movement through the precinct, and will support 783 square metres of retail and food and beverage outlets


READ ALSO: Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club redevelopment given green light


It will have 121 metres of active frontage including shop fronts and entry lobbies that will wrap around the corner of Edinburgh Avenue.

A number of pedestrian laneways have also been included in the plans.

The complex will add more than 34,000 square metres of office space to the city, accommodating 2500 people and 3000 workspaces.

One City Hill colonnade

The double-height colonnade on Vernon Circle. Image: GMB Architects.

It has been designed to meet a high standard of sustainability and energy efficiency, targeting a 5 Star NABERS rating and a 5 Star Green Star rating.

MPG plans to install a significant public art piece at the main entrance to One City Hill on Knowles Place in consultation with the NCA.

Public art is expected to be a feature of future stages of the precinct.

The project’s approved basement car parking levels are nearing completion and expected to be open to the public later this year.

The three levels will hold 871 parking spaces for office workers, tenancies and the public. There will also be end-of-trip facilities for cyclists.

Most of the building services and the vehicle access have been located at the northern end of Knowles Place.

MPG believes the project will reinforce One City Hill as the commercial centre of Canberra.

One City Hill precinct map

The precinct masterplan with One City Hill outlined in red. Image: GMB Architects.

This development is part of a wider planned precinct that will include two landmark tower buildings to the London Circuit site corners on Blocks 8 and 9 and a low-rise central element fronting London Circuit.

Known as The Barracks, this second development will cover more than 11,000 square metres.

The original project began with construction of the Edinburgh Avenue extension on Block 7, which was completed in December 2020 and handed over to the Territory.

MPG acquired Section 100 from City West Property Holdings in 2018 for $85 million.

Consultation closes on 16 September. To learn more visit the NCA website.


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27 Responses to Seven-storey office complex to rise on One City Hill
Jason McMinn Jason McMinn 7:56 am 24 Aug 21

This is great news!! All the best Morris Group. I live near this location. It will be a great addition to that area if the cbd that has been an ugly car park for decades. Well done for getting it up during these difficult times.

Robert McKenzie Robert McKenzie 11:47 pm 23 Aug 21

NOT happy, Jan!

Chris Wansink Chris Wansink 4:58 pm 23 Aug 21

its getting very squishy in that precinct, given the work from home culture now it may drive down property rents and leave empty buildings.

Jak Kanard Jak Kanard 1:14 pm 23 Aug 21

...surely, ‘office space’ in this day and age is redundant !!! Have the government learnt nothing...? Oh, apologies for the oxymoron...

John Moulis John Moulis 12:04 pm 23 Aug 21

The new development is called The Barracks. That brought a smile to many of us who visited the Oxford Street precinct in Sydney in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Barracks was a famous gay men’s club on three floors, and the main attraction was the glass urinal behind the bar where you got a good view with your meal and drinks.

Unfortunately it looks like this version of The Barracks will have nothing in common with that earlier much missed institution.

Quinn Franklin-Roberts Quinn Franklin-Roberts 9:57 am 23 Aug 21

Karen Dobinson across the road from you

    Karen Dobinson Karen Dobinson 10:09 am 23 Aug 21

    Quinn 😮 might end up where I work 😂

gooterz gooterz 6:45 pm 22 Aug 21

While civic was the historical heart and CDB. I’d imagine that a newer more modern centre will emerge in years to come as this concrete slab fades into grey

Peter West Peter West 3:52 pm 22 Aug 21

Enough of this crap.

Bring back NCDC

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:10 pm 22 Aug 21

    Peter West interestingly any development in that area needs NCA approval. NCA being the successor of the NCDC.

    Peter West Peter West 8:40 pm 22 Aug 21

    Ashley Wright my point exactly.

    Bring back NCDC

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:50 pm 22 Aug 21

    Peter West my point they are involved already! So nothing to bring back.

    Peter West Peter West 8:53 pm 22 Aug 21

    Ashley Wright NCA has never and will never be NCDC. Period

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:53 pm 22 Aug 21

    Peter West thankfully. Many of the issue this city faces is as a result of their decisions. In fairness though their decisions were right for the time. But times change.

    Peter West Peter West 9:06 pm 22 Aug 21

    Ashley Wright I guess you are right. Infill is the way to go these days. Forget the Burley Griffin plan.

    No more open spaces.

    Let the developers have it all their way.

    Canberra will be just like every other 'successful city', Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong etc.

    Times do change, especially when people from these 'successful cities' move to Canberra because they like it and then want to change it to what they came from.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:47 pm 22 Aug 21

    Peter West who’s forgetting the Burley Griffin plan?

    In actual fact most of what is being built and has been planned in the city is closer to the Burley Griffin plan than the NCDC plans of the 60’s and 70’s! Including development on Vernon Circle and the changes and development near the lake. Things such as extending Constitution and Edinburgh Aves to Vernon Circle, the raising of London cct and the changes to the west basin being good examples.

    The Burley Griffin plan also didn’t have Parkes Way separating the city from the lake. That of course was the NCDC’s doing. If you look at the Burley Griffin plan the road that goes around the lake that we know as Parkes way was mean to cut through Acton to join David Street in O’conner and head towards Northborne Ave where it intersects with McAuthur Ave.

    Plans of course do change. So a bit rich to pick and choose and complain about the Burley Griffin plan.

    Con Tricolas Con Tricolas 12:27 pm 23 Aug 21

    Peter West The NCDC has fled to China!

Frank Morella Frank Morella 12:30 am 22 Aug 21

Fantastic great to see development in Canberra cbd !!

Steven Chaytor Steven Chaytor 10:16 pm 21 Aug 21

A development that makes a lot of sense.

Mikey Moore Mikey Moore 7:50 pm 21 Aug 21

Good stuff! Severely underutilised land until now.

George Watling George Watling 7:32 pm 21 Aug 21

Real glass and concrete jungles stuff. Why isn't there a wider space for between the road and building for plantings to try an help reduce the heat that will be generated by all that those hard surfaces. I know there are trees in this illustration but they are there for marking purposes. In real life tree wont survive the heat the will be generated by the building and the road. Their roots will cook.

Anton Duvata Anton Duvata 3:48 pm 21 Aug 21

City hill area has been spoiled by these buildings. In this area, it should be free from commercial development and be left as an open space. Shame on the Barr government for so much infill occuring in Canberra over recent years.

    Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 10:29 pm 22 Aug 21

    Anton Duvata huh? This land was a carpark, so not really great open space and when was the last time anyone visited city hill? Area in extreme need of a spruce up.

    Lachlan Morgan-Fraser Lachlan Morgan-Fraser 5:18 am 23 Aug 21

    Anton Duvata you’d prefer endless pavement, concrete and car parks? I recommend you look up the City to the lake project. Canberra needs development in these areas if it ever wants to transcend its reputation as an embarrassing culture-wasteland and failed planned city.

Adele Craven Adele Craven 9:28 pm 20 Aug 21

"The three levels will hold 871 parking spaces for office workers, tenancies and the public. There will also be end-of-trip facilities for cyclists." Good to see.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:04 pm 21 Aug 21

    Adele Craven carparks are not really open space. That’s what is being built on.

    Besides it’s not like building on Veron Circle is something new. The assembly building, theatre, the Supreme Court and police station have been there for many many years.

    Ted Woods Ted Woods 8:20 pm 21 Aug 21

    Ashley Wright You're overstating it there. The assembly building and police station are on London Cct and are nowhere near Vernon Circle.

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