17 May 2021

Six-storey, 163-unit development proposed for key Dickson site

| Ian Bushnell
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Redevelopment at Dickson

An artist’s impression of the development proposed for the Dame Patti Menzies House site on the corner of Challis and Cape Streets in Dickson. Images: Cox Architecture.

A $41 million development proposal for a key Dickson site will deliver a further 163 dwellings into an area undergoing renewal as part of the Northbourne light rail corridor.

The site at 16 Challis Street is home to Dame Patti Menzies House, a twin-structure complex formerly owned by the ACT Government and at present managed by Transport Canberra and City Services after Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate staff moved to new offices nearby.

Merrylin Lindland Pty Ltd bought the complex in 2017 for $15 million and tried to offload it in February last year but flagged plans for the development in November. Now AIT Properties Group has lodged a development application for a six-storey plus attic building with ground floor commercial tenancies and basement parking, designed by Cox Architecture.

A ground floor lobby will service five floors of 30 apartments each, with the attic to house 13 apartments.

The mix of dwellings includes 55 one-bedroom, 102 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom apartments, while the ground floor commercial space amounts to 2,283 square metres.

The development features a ground floor atrium and a terrace with a barbecue on the sixth floor.

READ ALSO Goodwin unveils plans for 130 units in final stage of Downer development

The DA says the atrium landscaping will include spaces similar to other developments with atriums in Canberra such as NewActon Nishi.

The aim is to provide natural light and ventilation in a sustainable and energy-efficient building, it says.

Two levels of basement parking will provide spaces for 220 vehicles, seven motorcycles and 170 bicycles. The building will also have end-of-trip facilities including a shower and change area.

The car park will be accessed via a crossover from Challis Street and the creation of the new vehicular crossover will result in the removal of two existing on-street parking spaces allocated to people with disabilities, but these will be replaced by the existing on-street angled parking spaces to the north.

The traffic report says the development will result in a net increase of 49 vehicle trips in peak times, but this is not expected to compromise the function or safety of the existing road network.

A new laneway is proposed along the northern edge of the site for waste collection, as well as a pedestrian link between Challis and Woolley Streets, which the proponent says is in line with the Dickson Master Plan and City Renewal Authority aspirations for this part of Dickson.

New landscaping and pavement are proposed for the areas around the building to match recently completed public realm works, including deep-rooted zones for trees.

The North Council Community Council raised concerns in consultation about shadowing and the blocking of apartments’ views from the upper floors of the new development to the west of the site.

The proponent says the shadowing will be minimal and during the winter solstice will only affect the ground floor commercial tenancies around 9:00 am, and be limited to the lower floors.

It says the new modern building will only improve the views, replacing the old façade of the existing four-storey building.

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Dineth Ekanayake11:30 pm 04 Mar 21

NIMBY’s bloody NIMBY’s…. if I had a dollar for the number of ‘oh more apartments’ comments… yes it may not win the most inspiring architecture of the century award, but won’t you all stop and look at what is there currently. How is this not an upgrade! fools.

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