15 May 2020

Six-storey Braddon complex to house 400 international students

| Ian Bushnell
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Braddon student complex

An illustration from the DA of the proposed Braddon student complex. Images: Canberra Town Planning.

Trendy Braddon will become home to more than 400 international students if a development application for a six-storey mixed-use complex on Mort Street is approved.

The lessee of 44/46 Mort Street, Mesja Pty Ltd, is proposing to clear Blocks 5 and 6 Section 20, currently an office building and car park respectively, and has applied to vary the lease to allow commercial accommodation.

The plans include 406 one-bedroom units, ground floor shops, basement car parking and bicycle spaces.

The six levels include 19 units on the ground floor, 71 units (including two accessible units) on levels one to five, and 32 on the sixth floor (including two accessible units).

There will be study spaces on floors one, two and four, and other amenities including a gym, common spaces, music room and laundry.

The development will include two central courtyards, as well as communal open spaces and site landscaping.

It is aimed at students who are more likely to not have their own vehicles so parking has been calculated on the experiences of the ANU and University of Canberra, at one space per 15 rooms, giving 28 spaces. Fifteen spaces have been allowed for the 296 square metres of ground-floor retail at five per 100 square metres, although five of those will be on the street.

Braddon map

Site of the proposed development.

All up, the development includes another 30 spaces for visitors, for a total of 73.

As one would expect for a student building, there are far more bicycle spaces, 173 in total.

Vehicles will access the site via a driveway on Mort Street at its northern end.

But the DA emphasises the complex’s proximity to amenities, services and public transport, including the light rail and city bus station. The ANU, which usually has 7000 international students, is only 1.5 km away.

The complex is actually expected to result in less traffic in the area, generating a total of 276 trips per day and 56 during the peak time, 90 per cent of the contribution made by the existing development.

The DA says the building will be complemented by a large covered pedestrian area fronting Mort Street which will be activated by ground-floor shops.

”Re-development of this site will ultimately enhance and activate this area of Braddon which reinforces this area as a key prime metropolitan centre which should be attractive, lively and attractive,” the DA says.

The ACT has more than doubled the export value of international education services in Canberra since 2013. Australian Bureau of Statistics data released in June shows that the ACT’s international education exports skyrocketed in 2018, up 15 per cent on 2017 figures to be valued at just over $1.0 billion.

The COVID-19 crisis has set back the ACT’s higher education sector but this development appears to be a show of faith in its long-term future.

The move to establish a new University of NSW campus at Reid will also drive demand for student accommodation in the city.

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HUGE improvement to the bland nothingness which is there at the moment, ugly concrete office and paid car park!
Let the builder worry about tenants, and be pleased someone wants to enhance the butt ugly end of Mort Street, alongside the huge bottleshop.

The number of students to be housed looks to have doubled since Ian Bushnell’s article of 20 March.

Where’s the commitment to an environmentally conscious, green building? Will there be air conditioning? Why no wide eaves? Will the windows open? Are these “rooms” or “apartments”? Will they have kitchens? Based on the square metrage of the ground floor, these look likely to be under 3x 4 metre rooms. It’s an insult to international students that aspect, design, comfort and amenity are being ignored. Who is the minister responsible? Is it Yvette Berry?”

There is no minister responsible, especially the ACT education minister.

Though being a development application the ACT planning minister may get involved at some point.

Clearly reading yours and other posts you do not understand how planning and development works, what exactly is being proposed and who is proposing it.

I’ll give you a clue the application at present is to vary the lease to allow the site to be used for accomodation and the owner of the lease on the land is the one proposing it. Which is something they are fully entitled to do.

Now whilst there are renders of a building in this article which Have come from the DA, what is built there will be subject to another development approval process provided of course this one is successful.

You can read the application here. The document you may wish to read To educate yourself is the statement against criteria.


How many share metres are the apartments?

International students come to Australia, in part, to interact with locals rather than just other international students.

”Re-development of this site will ultimately enhance and activate this area of Braddon which reinforces this area as a key prime metropolitan centre which should be attractive, lively and attractive.” Not if it looks like this it won’t. It looks like a prison – just right for the next round of quarantine. And who cares about parking. Certainly not the developers if the government lets them get away with it – which they will.

As a Braddon resident, as long as I can still get a table for my beer at Bentspoke and get my coffee at Sonoma and Barrio, I’m fine with it.
Might mean we finally get a small supermarket.

Just a small detail to be sorted: what international students?

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