10 February 2023

Westfield owners lodge plans for 17-storey office tower in Woden

| Ian Bushnell
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office tower

An artist’s impression of Scentre Group’s proposed office development in Woden. Photos: Cox Architecture.

A 17-storey office tower is set to replace the dilapidated and vacant Bonner House East building (Block 21 Section 19 Phillip) in the Woden Town Centre and allow pedestrian and shoppers to walk through to the Westfield shopping centre.

Westfield owners Scentre Group say the project will create a smooth transition from Callam Street to the shopping centre in Bradley Street and contribute to the revitalisation of the town centre.

“Movement to and from the mall currently requires pedestrians to skirt around the outside of the Bonner House East building whereas the new building will welcome and encourage pedestrians to move through the space on the ground level,” the development application says.

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The 60-metre tall A-grade office tower will inject 21,620 square metres of lettable space into the town centre, while on the ground floor retail spaces will be open to the public.

The DA says the main entrance on Neptune Street will provide a casual atmosphere that encourages people on the street to pass through on their way to other destinations.

A secondary entrance accessible from the Westfield side of the site will allow pedestrians to make their way from the shopping centre to transport links and other destinations.

The tower will have a glass facade with an angular pattern to reflect the light, while at ground level spaces are designed to draw pedestrians in, with pillars placed at the outside edges.

base of office tower

A ground-level view of the proposed development.

The lower-level offices incorporate a terraced garden and form a podium on which the upper section rests.

The building will aim for energy efficiency with rooftop solar, the facade to reduce heat gain, big data controlled heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, and LED lighting.

It will encourage active travel with end of trip facilities on the ground floor including showers, storage lockers and bike racks.

Parking will be provided in three basement levels containing 102 parking spaces, less than the 265 required but the DA says the balance can be found within 600 metres of the site in already established multi-level carparks.

Vehicles will access the site from Neptune Street and Callam Street, the latter being from a modified and extended slip lane for commercial vehicles only.

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The DA’s traffic report says that the development will add 251 trips a day to Neptune Street, for a total of 2780 trips a day, or 93 per cent of capacity, and should be able to be supported by the surrounding traffic network.

A lease variation is also being sought to consolidate Blocks 21 and 10 Section 19.

The proposal will add to the town centre’s growing skyline, and is not far from where the new CIT and public transport interchange will be built.

It will also offer 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 DA is open for comments until 27 February.

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Rob Chalmers11:54 am 14 Feb 23

Less buses than two decades is a poor outcome for a government so intent on making commuting by car more expensive and less desirable. Higher frequency is what is required for a decent bus service not this every two hours rubbish on weekends.

Be fine if it had more car parking. Canberra,s war on cars continues

Agree that this part of Woden needs redeveloping but right next to the new CIT/Bus Interchange is going to make the area a mess for many years.

Oh and what about the ACT Govt step up and renovate the walkway between Scarborough House and the Plaza. The pebblecrete is disgusting as are the partially broken stairs, plus the wind tunnel effect of the buildings.

So less parking than required but parking can be found ??? Parking should be as per required, what a load of crap

If only Woden wasn’t so ugly. Perhaps this building will help?

When is DJ’s going to leave?

HiddenDragon6:37 pm 12 Feb 23

Almost two and a half years on, it has grown an extra storey (so unusual in the Canberra planning and development system…..) –


– but with the federal budget under huge pressure to find billions extra for defence, health, child care, the NDIS etc. it must be a very optimistic commercial landlord who thinks that APS numbers and accommodation budgets in Canberra will keep growing inexorably.

At last something more than ten stories tall. A pity it’s not twice the height and half of it apartments. What the complainants it’s too tall roll in.

Well it is a town centre, so looks to me this is a good plan. Bonner House well and truly past its use by date. Would have been good to see some accomodation in it as well.

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