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Canberra’s Boutique Real Estate and Property Management

The Zumba Zone goes under the hammer

By johnboy 30 June 2011 23

50 Marcus Clarke

The Australian brings word that Lang Walker is looking to sell the DEEWR bouncy castle for $280 million.

Mr Walker, who remains cashed up after selling most of his massive property holdings in 2006 for $1.25bn, told The Australian he was upbeat about the prospects for Canberra and would wade deeper into that market after the DEEWR project went “exceptionally well”.

“We have had over the years a pretty good exposure to Canberra. We have a major industrial estate down there and finished last year a 40,000sq m commercial building to DEEWR on a 15-year lease,” Mr Walker said.

“We probably know a lot more about the Canberra market than we did a few years ago. We think there is a fair bit of depth down there. The second-grade office space has been hammered very heavily.”

Just as long as they can keep a lid on the zumba.


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The Zumba Zone goes under the hammer
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Gungahlin Al 2:15 pm 01 Jul 11

breda said :

Al said:

“It is now that millions of taxpayer $$ were sunk into fixing it. Two years ago it was worse than any Gungahlin road ever has been. How soon we forget…

It probably great for you in Qbyn never having to be concerned about how much the ACT Government (i.e. us) has to spend on roads – particularly to support commuters from over the border, many of whom end up rat running through the back streets of Watson, Hackett and Ainslie.”

Al, you are a strong advocate for your area and that is fair enough. But, in the bigger picture, it makes more sense to build infrastructure where there is demand for it than to build it and hope that they will come. You seem to resent the fact that BBP is a success, and that it is not located in Gungahlin (where expenditure on roads would be just fine, according to you).

As others have pointed out, the location is quite accessible to large swathes of Canberra and surrounding regions. It is just petty to say that nothing should be built anywhere near Queanbeyan because they are just a bunch of freeloaders. As you know perfectly well, Canberra/Queanbeyan is effectively one economy these days, like Albury/Wodonga or the Qld/NSW border area.

It is a bit rich to simultaneously complain about traffic (rat-runners) while seeking increased traffic in the form of an employment hub which would attract people from all over the region.

Have no problem with offices in Qbyn. If I were despot, I shift the ACT border out to encompass Bungendore and Yass. Entire social, geographic and economic catchments in the one jurisdiction.

I have always promoted a balanced approach. You are interpreting that as a polar position, and it is not correct.

breda 1:57 pm 01 Jul 11

Al said:

“It is now that millions of taxpayer $$ were sunk into fixing it. Two years ago it was worse than any Gungahlin road ever has been. How soon we forget…

It probably great for you in Qbyn never having to be concerned about how much the ACT Government (i.e. us) has to spend on roads – particularly to support commuters from over the border, many of whom end up rat running through the back streets of Watson, Hackett and Ainslie.”

Al, you are a strong advocate for your area and that is fair enough. But, in the bigger picture, it makes more sense to build infrastructure where there is demand for it than to build it and hope that they will come. You seem to resent the fact that BBP is a success, and that it is not located in Gungahlin (where expenditure on roads would be just fine, according to you).

As others have pointed out, the location is quite accessible to large swathes of Canberra and surrounding regions. It is just petty to say that nothing should be built anywhere near Queanbeyan because they are just a bunch of freeloaders. As you know perfectly well, Canberra/Queanbeyan is effectively one economy these days, like Albury/Wodonga or the Qld/NSW border area.

It is a bit rich to simultaneously complain about traffic (rat-runners) while seeking increased traffic in the form of an employment hub which would attract people from all over the region.

Gungahlin Al 1:25 pm 01 Jul 11

qbngeek said :

BBP is actually quite centrally located for people who live in the Inner North, Civic, Queanbeyan/Jerrabomberra and the entire southside. It seems to me the only people doing the whinging are the people from Gungahlin who have an over-inflated sense of self worth and believe that the rest of us should come to them, even though the roads around Gungahlin are laid out in a way that creates traffic and, form what I know from people who live and work out there, the telecommunications infrastructure would crap itself in about 20 mins if there were any decent sized offices out there.

BBP has been mentiioned as a location for my workplace to move to and the biggest reason for that is because it is centrally located for all the staff. If we moved to Gungahlin like you seem to think we should then about 80% of us would be driving out there from other parts of the ACT and Queanbeyan. HOw does that make more sense than 20% of the staff driving to BBP??

Your argument on the load on the road network is stupid. The road network at BBP is much more capable of handling traffic than the roads around Gungahlin. The Gungahlin town cente becomes gridlocked with 100 cars there, what would happen if there were 3000 there each day.

It is now that millions of taxpayer $$ were sunk into fixing it. Two years ago it was worse than any Gungahlin road ever has been. How soon we forget…

It probably great for you in Qbyn never having to be concerned about how much the ACT Government (i.e. us) has to spend on roads – particularly to support commuters from over the border, many of whom end up rat running through the back streets of Watson, Hackett and Ainslie.

Gungahlin Al 1:13 pm 01 Jul 11

breda said :

Compared to the ugly deserts of the designated town centres, the airport office precinct is superb (yes, I have worked there). It is everything those who champion Canberra planning promise and never deliver – striking, innovative architecture, well used open spaces, some very attractive pieces of public art (paid for by the Snows), and plenty of parking.

I do detect sour grapes from those who seem to think that the windswept, empty plazas and behind-the-iron-curtain architecture that infest our town are ideals to be supported in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

The unpalatable (to some) truth is that a lot the most beautiful parts of the world’s best cities came about in just this way – by people spending their own money to make attractive precincts, untrammelled by the dead hand of planning bureaucracy.

No argument that they’ve done a brilliant job there. None at all. But it is there – not where it should be. Adjacent to the Gungahlin town centre we have 40 ha on which a similar quality business park is being designed now.

Together with a town centre that has adopted the old main street approach instead of being dominated by a single inwardly-looking shopping centre. These are reasons why we in G like it.

And DPM, understand what you are saying, but because it is counter-flow, it is already easier and quicker to get to our town centre than Civic. Will be more so with GDE finished and maybe one day good public transport.

qbngeek 12:22 pm 01 Jul 11

Gungahlin Al said :

dpm said :

arescarti42 said :

…So rather than having office and business growth around the town centres where people actually live and the transport and other infrastructure is in place, people have to commute to the airport which requires the upgrade of the Airport roads/Majura road/Monaro highway/Parkes way at significant cost to the government….

But didn’t Snow et al pay for a reasonable proportion of the road upgrades around the airport?
If so, considering the upgrades were basically needed anyway, it’s actually been a good thing for the Govt (and taxpayers) re: the airport road….
Besides as I’ve said before, everyone in Canberra currently drives from one satellite city to another for work each day anyway (I know people who drive from Gungahlin to Woden every day, and others that drive from Tuggers to Belco every day, for a small example. Why are there so many cars going up Caswell drive each weeknight if everyone from Belco/Gungahlin also work there?). The argument the Canberra has satellite cities where people live AND work has never worked that well. BBP has just added an extra location that took some of the load off roads to Civic and parking there…
To summarise, I wouldn’t waste too much of my time waving my arms in the air about it all. If you don’t work out at BBP then it shouldn’t be a concern to you. If you do, then they (and the Govt) have fixed the roads heading out there…. 🙂

Snow et al have only contributed a fraction (small one at that) of the total costs their mislocated office developments have off-loaded onto ACT taxpayers and ratepayers. Any other location and such development would be prohibited by the local town planning or the developers would cover all/most of the infrastructure costs incurred as a result.

And no matter how environmentally friendly their buildings, they don’t go anywhere near far off-setting the environmental costs of their inappropriate location.

Remember that if not for BBP, most of those offices would be in Gungahlin taking a massive load of the surrounding road network. And we wouldn’t need to spend $288 million upgrading Majura Road.

BBP is actually quite centrally located for people who live in the Inner North, Civic, Queanbeyan/Jerrabomberra and the entire southside. It seems to me the only people doing the whinging are the people from Gungahlin who have an over-inflated sense of self worth and believe that the rest of us should come to them, even though the roads around Gungahlin are laid out in a way that creates traffic and, form what I know from people who live and work out there, the telecommunications infrastructure would crap itself in about 20 mins if there were any decent sized offices out there.

BBP has been mentiioned as a location for my workplace to move to and the biggest reason for that is because it is centrally located for all the staff. If we moved to Gungahlin like you seem to think we should then about 80% of us would be driving out there from other parts of the ACT and Queanbeyan. HOw does that make more sense than 20% of the staff driving to BBP??

Your argument on the load on the road network is stupid. The road network at BBP is much more capable of handling traffic than the roads around Gungahlin. The Gungahlin town cente becomes gridlocked with 100 cars there, what would happen if there were 3000 there each day.

chewy14 11:32 am 01 Jul 11

staminaman62 said :

EvanJames said :

So even more of Snow Kingdom is vacant. Oh dear! What a shame.

I’ve never understood the widespread hostility to Mr Snow in Canberra as expressed so often in this forum. The guy is turning the airport from a joke into something special and is creating a heap of jobs in the process. People seem to want to have it both ways, hostility at him for making money on the one hand, or glee at the failure of Brand Depot or vacant offices at Brindabella Park on the other (with no thought of the ordinary Canberrans that may lose their jobs).

If Snow finds it easier to cut through the bureaucracy and build things on Commonwealth land perhaps that’s more of a commentary on the red tape and initiative stifling processes of the ACT Government rather than Mr Snow’s business acumen.

As far as I am aware he is risking his own money – not the taxpayers – so why the hostility? It’s better to be angry at the Gillard Government for wasting billions of $’s of public money I would’ve thought.

Most of Australia got over this pathetic tall poppy syndrome years ago. Isn’t it time Canberra did too?

You don’t understand why some people might be hostile to Snow bypassing planning laws that everyone else has to abide by to make a personal profit, while in the meantime creating large problems around the Airport precinct and costing the ACT taxpayer money?
Yeah, I can’t explain it either.

breda 11:13 am 01 Jul 11

Compared to the ugly deserts of the designated town centres, the airport office precinct is superb (yes, I have worked there). It is everything those who champion Canberra planning promise and never deliver – striking, innovative architecture, well used open spaces, some very attractive pieces of public art (paid for by the Snows), and plenty of parking.

I do detect sour grapes from those who seem to think that the windswept, empty plazas and behind-the-iron-curtain architecture that infest our town are ideals to be supported in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

The unpalatable (to some) truth is that a lot the most beautiful parts of the world’s best cities came about in just this way – by people spending their own money to make attractive precincts, untrammelled by the dead hand of planning bureaucracy.

dpm 11:10 am 01 Jul 11

Gungahlin Al said :

… Remember that if not for BBP, most of those offices would be in Gungahlin taking a massive load of the surrounding road network. And we wouldn’t need to spend $288 million upgrading Majura Road.

It’s a pity Snowy didn’t buy a block of land in Gungahlin 10 years ago – you’d have had offices there in no time! 🙂
Seriously, if you look at the other side of the coin (I know you’re all about Gungahlin so this would be stupid!), but perhaps there are people who work out there that find BBP easier working there than if they had to drive to Gungahlin (i.e. all the people who live South of BBP and work there)? Just playing devils advocate, and also thinking about all of Canberra….
Canberra is kinda set out thin and long, and putting large offices that draw staff from all over Canberra at one of the two pointy ends isn’t the most logical solution (time-wise and environmentally) IMO. Of course, I 100% understand your viewpoint and frustration about all this! Perhaps my (misguided?) logic has no place in such planning? 🙂

Gungahlin Al 9:48 am 01 Jul 11

dpm said :

arescarti42 said :

…So rather than having office and business growth around the town centres where people actually live and the transport and other infrastructure is in place, people have to commute to the airport which requires the upgrade of the Airport roads/Majura road/Monaro highway/Parkes way at significant cost to the government….

But didn’t Snow et al pay for a reasonable proportion of the road upgrades around the airport?
If so, considering the upgrades were basically needed anyway, it’s actually been a good thing for the Govt (and taxpayers) re: the airport road….
Besides as I’ve said before, everyone in Canberra currently drives from one satellite city to another for work each day anyway (I know people who drive from Gungahlin to Woden every day, and others that drive from Tuggers to Belco every day, for a small example. Why are there so many cars going up Caswell drive each weeknight if everyone from Belco/Gungahlin also work there?). The argument the Canberra has satellite cities where people live AND work has never worked that well. BBP has just added an extra location that took some of the load off roads to Civic and parking there…
To summarise, I wouldn’t waste too much of my time waving my arms in the air about it all. If you don’t work out at BBP then it shouldn’t be a concern to you. If you do, then they (and the Govt) have fixed the roads heading out there…. 🙂

Snow et al have only contributed a fraction (small one at that) of the total costs their mislocated office developments have off-loaded onto ACT taxpayers and ratepayers. Any other location and such development would be prohibited by the local town planning or the developers would cover all/most of the infrastructure costs incurred as a result.

And no matter how environmentally friendly their buildings, they don’t go anywhere near far off-setting the environmental costs of their inappropriate location.

Remember that if not for BBP, most of those offices would be in Gungahlin taking a massive load of the surrounding road network. And we wouldn’t need to spend $288 million upgrading Majura Road.

dpm 8:35 am 01 Jul 11

arescarti42 said :

…So rather than having office and business growth around the town centres where people actually live and the transport and other infrastructure is in place, people have to commute to the airport which requires the upgrade of the Airport roads/Majura road/Monaro highway/Parkes way at significant cost to the government….

But didn’t Snow et al pay for a reasonable proportion of the road upgrades around the airport?
If so, considering the upgrades were basically needed anyway, it’s actually been a good thing for the Govt (and taxpayers) re: the airport road….
Besides as I’ve said before, everyone in Canberra currently drives from one satellite city to another for work each day anyway (I know people who drive from Gungahlin to Woden every day, and others that drive from Tuggers to Belco every day, for a small example. Why are there so many cars going up Caswell drive each weeknight if everyone from Belco/Gungahlin also work there?). The argument the Canberra has satellite cities where people live AND work has never worked that well. BBP has just added an extra location that took some of the load off roads to Civic and parking there…
To summarise, I wouldn’t waste too much of my time waving my arms in the air about it all. If you don’t work out at BBP then it shouldn’t be a concern to you. If you do, then they (and the Govt) have fixed the roads heading out there…. 🙂

staminaman62 10:05 pm 30 Jun 11

arescarti42 said :

staminaman62 said :

I’ve never understood the widespread hostility to Mr Snow in Canberra as expressed so often in this forum.

As far as I am aware he is risking his own money – not the taxpayers – so why the hostility? It’s better to be angry at the Gillard Government for wasting billions of $’s of public money I would’ve thought.

The people of Canberra, through the ACT government have basically said we want Canberra to be planned in a certain way, with employment growth around the Town Centres. Terry Snow has used the technical loophole regarding use of the airport land to basically say “screw you Canberrans, I don’t care what you want for your city, I want to cram as much as I can out at the airport for my personal gain with no regard to what it does to the urban structure of the city.”

So rather than having office and business growth around the town centres where people actually live and the transport and other infrastructure is in place, people have to commute to the airport which requires the upgrade of the Airport roads/Majura road/Monaro highway/Parkes way at significant cost to the government.

I think a certain level of hostility towards Terry Snow is justified.

What nonsense. The people of Canberra never decided the way Canberra was planned. The idea of car friendly town centres separated from the city was imposed on them by the Feds. I personally have no problem with development around the airport and even if I did, so what? The law is the law and we live in a federation. And yes, the airport is on Commonwealth land and that’s the law that applies. Or do you want to tear down the federation?

Gungahlin Al 5:11 pm 30 Jun 11

amarooresident3 said :

To be fair, it was originally suppossed to be a new building for DEST, commissioned by the coalition government, but then DEST and DEWR were merged, so it was never going to hold everyone once that happened.

It has significantly reduced the number of buildings that the Department occupied. At one stage it was nearly 20 from memory.

To be fair, we should remember that the recently departed Senator Nick Minchin signed the contract for DEST to occupy said new building just days before the caretaker period commenced. In making such a decision he would well have known that there was a very high potential for MOG changes post-election date – regardless of who won. Making his decision to sign on the line when he did somewhat irresponsible, in my personal opinion.

That off my chest, the size DEEWR is now, it would never fit in one building. The Civic blocks just aren’t big enough.

arescarti42 5:06 pm 30 Jun 11

staminaman62 said :

I’ve never understood the widespread hostility to Mr Snow in Canberra as expressed so often in this forum.

As far as I am aware he is risking his own money – not the taxpayers – so why the hostility? It’s better to be angry at the Gillard Government for wasting billions of $’s of public money I would’ve thought.

The people of Canberra, through the ACT government have basically said we want Canberra to be planned in a certain way, with employment growth around the Town Centres. Terry Snow has used the technical loophole regarding use of the airport land to basically say “screw you Canberrans, I don’t care what you want for your city, I want to cram as much as I can out at the airport for my personal gain with no regard to what it does to the urban structure of the city.”

So rather than having office and business growth around the town centres where people actually live and the transport and other infrastructure is in place, people have to commute to the airport which requires the upgrade of the Airport roads/Majura road/Monaro highway/Parkes way at significant cost to the government.

I think a certain level of hostility towards Terry Snow is justified.

dpm 4:12 pm 30 Jun 11

staminaman62 said :

EvanJames said :

So even more of Snow Kingdom is vacant. Oh dear! What a shame.

I’ve never understood the widespread hostility to Mr Snow in Canberra as expressed so often in this forum. The guy is turning the airport from a joke into something special and is creating a heap of jobs in the process. People seem to want to have it both ways, hostility at him for making money on the one hand, or glee at the failure of Brand Depot or vacant offices at Brindabella Park on the other (with no thought of the ordinary Canberrans that may lose their jobs).

If Snow finds it easier to cut through the bureaucracy and build things on Commonwealth land perhaps that’s more of a commentary on the red tape and initiative stifling processes of the ACT Government rather than Mr Snow’s business acumen.

As far as I am aware he is risking his own money – not the taxpayers – so why the hostility? It’s better to be angry at the Gillard Government for wasting billions of $’s of public money I would’ve thought.

Most of Australia got over this pathetic tall poppy syndrome years ago. Isn’t it time Canberra did too?

I agree really. If it is largely untennanted I feel kinda bad about that.
When I worked out there years ago the major hassle was poor transport to/from. Now that it looks like that is mainly fixed (or will be soon) it’s a bit more appealing. However, it sucked to drive to (basically) the middle of nowhere and yet have to pay for parking (because they needed to justify the parking rate at the airport proper – and to keep airport patrons from using the BBP carparks)!

staminaman62 3:45 pm 30 Jun 11

EvanJames said :

So even more of Snow Kingdom is vacant. Oh dear! What a shame.

I’ve never understood the widespread hostility to Mr Snow in Canberra as expressed so often in this forum. The guy is turning the airport from a joke into something special and is creating a heap of jobs in the process. People seem to want to have it both ways, hostility at him for making money on the one hand, or glee at the failure of Brand Depot or vacant offices at Brindabella Park on the other (with no thought of the ordinary Canberrans that may lose their jobs).

If Snow finds it easier to cut through the bureaucracy and build things on Commonwealth land perhaps that’s more of a commentary on the red tape and initiative stifling processes of the ACT Government rather than Mr Snow’s business acumen.

As far as I am aware he is risking his own money – not the taxpayers – so why the hostility? It’s better to be angry at the Gillard Government for wasting billions of $’s of public money I would’ve thought.

Most of Australia got over this pathetic tall poppy syndrome years ago. Isn’t it time Canberra did too?

amarooresident3 3:09 pm 30 Jun 11

dpm said :

amaroovian said :

dpm said :

Out of interest, a lot of DEWR (as it was then) staff used to work out at BBP. Are they still there or are they all back in this new building?

No they have moved out of BBP – lease expired today on 14/16 and 29/31 Brindabella Circuit but most staff were moved out before Christmas. And they are certainly not in the shiny new bouncy castle. Most of the DEWR staff (and they were DEWR staff not DEST people) who were out at BBP were IT – hardly likely they would see the inside of a plush new building when there are policy wonks who need easy access to things like staff theatres, zumba classes etc…. All the IT staff have been shoved into crappy old buildings like 71 and 72 Northbourne and some of the old Mort Street buildings.

So they built a huge new ‘DEEWR’ building that only houses half the staff, with the other staff still scattered around in other buildings. The more things change….
Then again, it IS a dept that seems to split or remerge at every election cycle – would be hard to take a guess at the staff numbers from one year to the next!

And wow, that must make BBP a fair bit quieter? Maybe Coles can open a competing supermarket there on the other side of the airport!

To be fair, it was originally suppossed to be a new building for DEST, commissioned by the coalition government, but then DEST and DEWR were merged, so it was never going to hold everyone once that happened.

It has significantly reduced the number of buildings that the Department occupied. At one stage it was nearly 20 from memory.

dpm 2:09 pm 30 Jun 11

amaroovian said :

dpm said :

Out of interest, a lot of DEWR (as it was then) staff used to work out at BBP. Are they still there or are they all back in this new building?

No they have moved out of BBP – lease expired today on 14/16 and 29/31 Brindabella Circuit but most staff were moved out before Christmas. And they are certainly not in the shiny new bouncy castle. Most of the DEWR staff (and they were DEWR staff not DEST people) who were out at BBP were IT – hardly likely they would see the inside of a plush new building when there are policy wonks who need easy access to things like staff theatres, zumba classes etc…. All the IT staff have been shoved into crappy old buildings like 71 and 72 Northbourne and some of the old Mort Street buildings.

So they built a huge new ‘DEEWR’ building that only houses half the staff, with the other staff still scattered around in other buildings. The more things change….
Then again, it IS a dept that seems to split or remerge at every election cycle – would be hard to take a guess at the staff numbers from one year to the next!

And wow, that must make BBP a fair bit quieter? Maybe Coles can open a competing supermarket there on the other side of the airport!

EvanJames 2:08 pm 30 Jun 11

So even more of Snow Kingdom is vacant. Oh dear! What a shame.

amaroovian 1:26 pm 30 Jun 11

dpm said :

Out of interest, a lot of DEWR (as it was then) staff used to work out at BBP. Are they still there or are they all back in this new building?

No they have moved out of BBP – lease expired today on 14/16 and 29/31 Brindabella Circuit but most staff were moved out before Christmas. And they are certainly not in the shiny new bouncy castle. Most of the DEWR staff (and they were DEWR staff not DEST people) who were out at BBP were IT – hardly likely they would see the inside of a plush new building when there are policy wonks who need easy access to things like staff theatres, zumba classes etc…. All the IT staff have been shoved into crappy old buildings like 71 and 72 Northbourne and some of the old Mort Street buildings.

Keijidosha 12:42 pm 30 Jun 11

“after the DEEWR project went “exceptionally well”.”

Wait, what? Isn’t this the building that partially collapsed during construction, and threatens to fall down if more than a dozen people jump around simultaneously? Then again if you’re the developer the measure of success is how much closer your head is to the roof lining of your Mercedes owing to the added thickness in the wallet region.

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