The Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) has welcomed plans by the owner of former Health Department office blocks in the Town Centre to re-purpose them as residential apartments.
The fenced-off and heavily vandalised Alexander and Albemarle buildings in the Woden Town Centre have stood empty for more than seven years and been the subject of a standoff between the ACT Government and owner Doma Group, which says the territory’s lease variation taxes have made the site unviable for redevelopment.
Doma managing director Jure Domazet confirmed the repurposing plans this week and that an architecture firm had been appointed but said it would be premature to provide any more details such as the number of apartments planned, or elaborate on ground floor retail and commercial features.
WVCC president Fiona Carrick said the Council welcomed resolution to the issues associated with the derelict Alexander and Albemarle buildings.”We hope the buildings can be refurbished to provide a great outcome for the people of Woden, particularly those that walk past them every day,” she said.
The Council also hoped that green space could be retained in the buildings’ courtyards.
Last week in response to disturbing photos of youths on top of the nine-storey buildings, Mr Domazet told media that Doma hoped to lodge a development application for the buildings “in the near future”.
He said the lease variation taxes had made demolition unfeasible but the company was now planning to repurpose the buildings into affordable residential apartments.
“Our design team is embracing the re-use concept and the apartments will not be the standard Gyprock box that the Woden market is used to,” he said.
“The development will be the least dense residential development in Woden with an extensive private landscaped area and will be very affordable.”
He said the project would also include a childcare centre, a cafe and other non-residential uses on the ground floor.
Mr Domazet said the buildings were fenced and security guards regularly patrolled the site.
“I am told that it is not just a problem for our buildings and that unsupervised kids are entering a lot of the empty buildings at Woden,” he said.
What are your thoughts on the repurposing of the Alexander and Albemarle buildings in Woden? Do you know of any issues that arose as a result of these buildings being abandoned? Let us know by commenting below.