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Zed weeps for the commercial property owners

By johnboy - 4 August 2011 23

Liberal Leader Zed Seselja is concerned the construction of the pleasure dome to house the entire ACT Public Service in Civic (sans Gungahlin Penal Battalion) will unduly rob the office block owners of bread from their childrens’ mouths.

Figures released today show Canberras vacancy rate is now 13.3 per cent, yet the governments proposing the development of this extravagant office block, Mr Seselja said.

This is compared to a vacancy rate of 8.7 per cent in January last year. The supply is simply far outweighing the demand.

Its poor planning and poor decision making by the government.

Instead of using this high vacancy rate to get better rental deals, the government is pressing on with this illogical project. Instead of using $430 million on much needed infrastructure, the Government is pursuing an office project which we dont need.

The government needs to let the local market recover before further adding to the problem at the cost of Canberra taxpayers.

Surprisingly he’s failed to mention working families once.

What’s Your opinion?


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23 Responses to
Zed weeps for the commercial property owners
JC 8:39 pm 06 Aug 11

2604 said :

@JC: I think my point stands – Brindabella Park would not exist if there was a sufficient supply of new commercial real estate in the town centres. For reasons of prestige and staff satisfaction, every agency head would rather have his or her department located in Civic or Barton (and to a lesser extent, Woden, Belco or Tuggers) than at the airport. This is not possible because of inefficient and bureaucratic ACT Government planning processes, and the govt’s practice of drip-feeding the supply of land onto the market.

LOL, no I don’t work for CAG. I just think that Snow is the target of a lot of jealousy because he’s wealthy, rather than because of anything illegal or improper that he’s done. If he’s exploited a loophole, blame the loophole. If he’s telling a compliant ACT Gov’t what to do, blame the ACT Gov’t.

It works both ways. If Brindabella wasn’t there then there would be more incentive to develop in more appropriate area’s, such as the town centres. As it stands he has used a loop hold to manipulate the market (and object to appropriate developments if they compete with his) and the ACT government, who are here to run this joint have no control what so ever. In fact they have a) lost revenue from land sales and b) had to stump up money for infrastructure that would have been paid for by these revenues and by the developer.

Oh as for where people want to be sited, I doubt many, given a choice would choose the airport, especially those who want to use public transport. Maybe the reason so many businesses are at the airport is because of the lack of development elsewhere as a result of the massive over supply (as evidenced by empty buildings at Brindabella). Pure market manipulation at it’s best.

How that is a win for anyone but Snow is well beyond me.

2604 11:48 am 06 Aug 11

@JC: I think my point stands – Brindabella Park would not exist if there was a sufficient supply of new commercial real estate in the town centres. For reasons of prestige and staff satisfaction, every agency head would rather have his or her department located in Civic or Barton (and to a lesser extent, Woden, Belco or Tuggers) than at the airport. This is not possible because of inefficient and bureaucratic ACT Government planning processes, and the govt’s practice of drip-feeding the supply of land onto the market.

LOL, no I don’t work for CAG. I just think that Snow is the target of a lot of jealousy because he’s wealthy, rather than because of anything illegal or improper that he’s done. If he’s exploited a loophole, blame the loophole. If he’s telling a compliant ACT Gov’t what to do, blame the ACT Gov’t.

EvanJames 10:51 am 06 Aug 11

Snow’s aiport land is under the control of the federal government, dep’t of transport, I think. And all they care about is the aviation aspects of the airport. So the land is out of the control of the local gov’t, and under the nominal control of a body who doesn’t care what is done with it, so long as the transport purpose is conducted in accordance with their rules. an excellent loophole for a developer.

While the Brindabella, Fairbairn and Majura buildings and precincts are very pretty and the buildings are nice, the knock-on effects have been profound. The traffic effects around the airport were catastrophic as Brindabella started to come on line, and they remain severe thanks to Fairbairn and Majura.

The effects on planned development in the rest of the city are profound. It has skewed the market.

I hope this has been a learning experience for governments at every level, what a privateer can do in such a situation, but I doubt it.

JC 9:31 am 06 Aug 11

2604 said :

JC said :

All well and good in theory, except what do I have to be jealous about? I am no property developer, I just joe average ACT taxpayer who has been ripped off by the airport developments.

Just curious…how have they “ripped you off”?

I have been ripped off because my taxpayers money has had to go into prematurely building infrastructure in appropriate locations, where as that money should have been spent on appropriate locations as decided by the government, not Mr Snow.

2604 said :

JC said :

As you gather the airport irks the hell out of me, simply because the place was sold as an airport, yet the owner has used a loophole in planning laws to build what ever he likes without any consideration for anyone but himself.

Airport business parks exist all over the world. Snow did nothing illegal, and took an opportunity that was open to any person or company with the means to take advantage of it. Just because you weren’t in a position to do so doesn’t make it wrong, or even unfair.

Never said what he is done is illegal, and the fact that business parks exist the world over is irrelevant. The fact is the planning loophole in Australia is there to allow airport related activities to be built without being held back by local planners as aviation is considered to be in the interest of the country. Airport related infrastructure would be things like airport terminals (only now being built), or maintenance hangers, freight terminals, fuel depots etc. Office buildings and shopping centres are hardly aviation related.

2604 said :

JC said :

He bids for a piece of land in Fyshwick with the intent to build a factory outlet centre, looses the bid so builds one on airport land and then objects to the development he bid for. Fortunatly in this case the Fyshwick centre that was built in an appropriate location with appropriate planning approval won out, but not so with office space.

You sure about that? IIRC the site was originally for bulky goods with only limited retail space permitted, but the ACT Gov’t obligingly varied the crown lease for DFO to provide for more retail space once the land had been sold.

Yes I am sure, and yes you are right that the government did vary the crown lease. Doesn’t change the fact that Snow wanted that land for the EXACT same purpose, and when he didn’t get it whipped up brand depot in a location that clearly he knew would not work.

2604 said :

JC said :

The government has had to spend money out there to improve traffic generated by this development, out of their own purse, thus depriving other areas of this money (GDE for example), whereas if the development was done in the normal way the government would have received payments for the development which would be used to do it properly.

The government would have to provide some infrastructure for any new business zone, regardless of whether it was developed by the gov’t or by a private company. In fact, as Snow has provided all the internal roads and landscaping, parking infrastructure etc, at Brindabella Park he has probably saved the government money versus what it would have to pay in a typical greenfields development.
There would have been no market for “Snowtown” and therefore no need for additional infrastructure at the airport if the Government had actually released sufficient land for commercial development in the existing town centres and city, where good infrastructure already exists.

Whilst your right the government would have had to provide infrastructure, the fact is this would have been provided through the proceeds of land sales and for internal roads it would have been included as a development requirement. The fact here is money had to be diverted into fixing a mess made by inappropriate development in an inappropriate location.

2604 said :

JC said :

You can also complain about ACTPLA and their slowness for all you like, however stop and think they are doing their job to CONTROL development, making sure it is appropriate and meets the needs of the public as a whole, rather than one group who brought an airport and have now built an inappropriate town centre.

Their job is not to CONTROL development. It is to FACILITATE development. People wonder why new houses on tiny blocks are so expensive here in Canberra. The reasons are that (a) the government abuses its monopoly on land releases by constraining supply to keep rates high; and (b) once a developer or builder has bought a block, he can’t build anything without the government conducting a lengthy consultation process with the Gay Dentists’ Action Group and every other minority group, thereby causing massive holding costs which are capitalised into the ultimate sale price of the development.

Oh so it is ok for someone to build without any controls, thus flooding the market, thus stiffing real and appropriate development, because heaven forbid by have a system of government where major developments require scrutiny. I know one thing I didn’t vote Mr Snow to run this territory and I don’t appreciate his developments, except for the new airport terminal.

2604 said :

JC said :

The end result is what we see, high occupancy rates, which in turn has stifled development in appropriate locations

I think you mean high vacancy rates. The real problem is what thatsnotme has identified – much of Canberra’s vacant office space is substandard and in dire need of renovation. Due to stuff like NABERS and sky-high rates and land tax which need to be payed during renovations when no rent is coming in, the cost of getting this stock up to the standards required by Australian Government departments is huge. Demolition and re-building takes years of planning (ACTPLA again).

So why is there such a high vacancey rate at Mr Snow’s new buildings? Surley they are new, so these issues don’t apply.

Anyway sounds to me like your user name should be 2609, or is that just the post code of the company you work for? Ie Snowtown?

2604 11:56 pm 05 Aug 11

JC said :

All well and good in theory, except what do I have to be jealous about? I am no property developer, I just joe average ACT taxpayer who has been ripped off by the airport developments.

Just curious…how have they “ripped you off”?

JC said :

As you gather the airport irks the hell out of me, simply because the place was sold as an airport, yet the owner has used a loophole in planning laws to build what ever he likes without any consideration for anyone but himself.

Airport business parks exist all over the world. Snow did nothing illegal, and took an opportunity that was open to any person or company with the means to take advantage of it. Just because you weren’t in a position to do so doesn’t make it wrong, or even unfair.

JC said :

He bids for a piece of land in Fyshwick with the intent to build a factory outlet centre, looses the bid so builds one on airport land and then objects to the development he bid for. Fortunatly in this case the Fyshwick centre that was built in an appropriate location with appropriate planning approval won out, but not so with office space.

You sure about that? IIRC the site was originally for bulky goods with only limited retail space permitted, but the ACT Gov’t obligingly varied the crown lease for DFO to provide for more retail space once the land had been sold.

JC said :

The government has had to spend money out there to improve traffic generated by this development, out of their own purse, thus depriving other areas of this money (GDE for example), whereas if the development was done in the normal way the government would have received payments for the development which would be used to do it properly.

The government would have to provide some infrastructure for any new business zone, regardless of whether it was developed by the gov’t or by a private company. In fact, as Snow has provided all the internal roads and landscaping, parking infrastructure etc, at Brindabella Park he has probably saved the government money versus what it would have to pay in a typical greenfields development.
There would have been no market for “Snowtown” and therefore no need for additional infrastructure at the airport if the Government had actually released sufficient land for commercial development in the existing town centres and city, where good infrastructure already exists.

JC said :

You can also complain about ACTPLA and their slowness for all you like, however stop and think they are doing their job to CONTROL development, making sure it is appropriate and meets the needs of the public as a whole, rather than one group who brought an airport and have now built an inappropriate town centre.

Their job is not to CONTROL development. It is to FACILITATE development. People wonder why new houses on tiny blocks are so expensive here in Canberra. The reasons are that (a) the government abuses its monopoly on land releases by constraining supply to keep rates high; and (b) once a developer or builder has bought a block, he can’t build anything without the government conducting a lengthy consultation process with the Gay Dentists’ Action Group and every other minority group, thereby causing massive holding costs which are capitalised into the ultimate sale price of the development.

JC said :

The end result is what we see, high occupancy rates, which in turn has stifled development in appropriate locations

I think you mean high vacancy rates. The real problem is what thatsnotme has identified – much of Canberra’s vacant office space is substandard and in dire need of renovation. Due to stuff like NABERS and sky-high rates and land tax which need to be payed during renovations when no rent is coming in, the cost of getting this stock up to the standards required by Australian Government departments is huge. Demolition and re-building takes years of planning (ACTPLA again).

arescarti42 4:48 pm 05 Aug 11

EvanJames said :

JC said :

As you gather the airport irks the hell out of me, simply because the place was sold as an airport, yet the owner has used a loophole in planning laws to build what ever he likes without any consideration for anyone but himself.

(snipped for brevity)

Agree with everything. He is on the record as stating that he bought the airport because he realised he wouldn’t be subject to local planning laws, plus the lack of a curfew was attractive too.

The traffic problems that were caused by building a CBD in an area not designed for it were immense. People must have short memories but Pialligo Ave and Majura became carparks as a result. Tax payers’ money had to be diverted from other projects to pay for the resultant roadworks.

Now the retail precinct on Majura is already causing traffic weirdness on Friday evenings. It doesn’t take much to tip overloaded roads into gridlock.

That one private operator can lead an elected government by the nose is scandalous. We pay for town planners for a reason. Without their hands on the controls, we end up with chaos and rorting.

+1

housebound 11:37 am 05 Aug 11

I had reason to drive into the office block area of the airport recently. It amazed me that a precinct without planning controls could produce something so much more pleasant than we see in (eg) Civic west (think Farrell Pl). Things like grass, trees, public spaces, interesting but not overly imposing buildings make a difference to the overall place. Maybe it was just the section I happened to be in, but if the difference is ACTPLA and the ACT Government, give me unplanned anyway.

That said, I am no supporter of a system that sold publicly owned airports, phone companies, banks, airlines and probably much more off to the private system.

And back on topic – I’ve been in new buildings with failing lifts, non-flushing toilets, and heating/colling systems that don’t work. New isn’t necessarily better. At least in an older building you can usually find a window to open (even if it is BYO allen key).

When a government can’t find $75,000 for a humidcrib thingy, or $500,000 to keep a heritage listed school open, you have to admit that $460 million for flash new offices and a skyway for ministers and their minions looks a bit self-indulgent.

thatsnotme 10:05 am 05 Aug 11

According to the story in the CT about this today, much of the vacant office space in the City is in older buildings, and is B, C and D class accommodation (how these classifications are determined isn’t mentioned). Well I work in the City in a building that would probably fall into one of these lower categories, and I can hardly blame the Government for wanting to house their staff in a new building.

Our lifts are frequently out of order; in winter the building is freezing every Monday morning, and in Summer it’s boiling every Monday morning; the urinals in the bathroom on my floor have failed to flush for the last 2 or 3 months (perhaps more); the air conditioning in our server room frequently fails, because of issues with the building water supply; on many occassions, I’ve had to put a bucket on my desk to catch condensation dripping from the air con vents above my desk…and so on.

I’m sure new buildings have their fair share of issues as well, but at least those issues wouldn’t be caused by age and neglect.

EvanJames 9:56 am 05 Aug 11

JC said :

As you gather the airport irks the hell out of me, simply because the place was sold as an airport, yet the owner has used a loophole in planning laws to build what ever he likes without any consideration for anyone but himself.

(snipped for brevity)

Agree with everything. He is on the record as stating that he bought the airport because he realised he wouldn’t be subject to local planning laws, plus the lack of a curfew was attractive too.

The traffic problems that were caused by building a CBD in an area not designed for it were immense. People must have short memories but Pialligo Ave and Majura became carparks as a result. Tax payers’ money had to be diverted from other projects to pay for the resultant roadworks.

Now the retail precinct on Majura is already causing traffic weirdness on Friday evenings. It doesn’t take much to tip overloaded roads into gridlock.

That one private operator can lead an elected government by the nose is scandalous. We pay for town planners for a reason. Without their hands on the controls, we end up with chaos and rorting.

JC 8:35 am 05 Aug 11

2604 said :

JC said :

The reason office vacancies are so high is 100% because of Snowtown which has been built without ANY planning controls what so ever. We can thank Mr Seselja mate and ex PM Mr Howard for this situation. Guess Zed wants the taxpayer to continue to line the pockets of the liberal party benefactors.

What a load of jealous BS. Regardless of what you think about “Snowtown”, the buildings out there are all excellent, attractive to look at and reputedly very nice to work in.

Why not ask why no-one was able or willing to build equally attractive and functional office buildings in our major town centres? It’s because of piss poor planning by the ACT Government (eg no zoning or provision for large commercial offices in Gungahlin until recently) and enormous holding costs while ACTPLA and co dithered endlessly over building approvals. While Stanhope and co were preoccupied with constructing human-rights approved jails and acknowledging the traditional owners of the ACT and all that other PC nonsense, guys like Snow were actually getting on with business. I say, good on him.

All well and good in theory, except what do I have to be jealous about? I am no property developer, I just joe average ACT taxpayer who has been ripped off by the airport developments.

As you gather the airport irks the hell out of me, simply because the place was sold as an airport, yet the owner has used a loophole in planning laws to build what ever he likes without any consideration for anyone but himself. He bids for a piece of land in Fyshwick with the intent to build a factory outlet centre, looses the bid so builds one on airport land and then objects to the development he bid for. Fortunatly in this case the Fyshwick centre that was built in an appropriate location with appropriate planning approval won out, but not so with office space.

The end result is a stupid development in a place that is poorly linked to the bulk of the ACT, has little public transport etc. The government has had to spend money out there to improve traffic generated by this development, out of their own purse, thus depriving other areas of this money (GDE for example), whereas if the development was done in the normal way the government would have received payments for the development which would be used to do it properly.

You can also complain about ACTPLA and their slowness for all you like, however stop and think they are doing their job to CONTROL development, making sure it is appropriate and meets the needs of the public as a whole, rather than one group who brought an airport and have now built an inappropriate town centre.

The end result is what we see, high occupancy rates, which in turn has stifled development in appropriate locations

EvanJames 11:25 pm 04 Aug 11

Well, Mr Snow has two huge, brand new buildings sitting ready and idle at Majura Park. No one’s coming. The little one fronting Majura Rd is almost full, but the two big ones stretching toward the old brand depot are ghost buildings, finished and landscaped but no one wants them.

2604 10:28 pm 04 Aug 11

JC said :

The reason office vacancies are so high is 100% because of Snowtown which has been built without ANY planning controls what so ever. We can thank Mr Seselja mate and ex PM Mr Howard for this situation. Guess Zed wants the taxpayer to continue to line the pockets of the liberal party benefactors.

What a load of jealous BS. Regardless of what you think about “Snowtown”, the buildings out there are all excellent, attractive to look at and reputedly very nice to work in.

Why not ask why no-one was able or willing to build equally attractive and functional office buildings in our major town centres? It’s because of piss poor planning by the ACT Government (eg no zoning or provision for large commercial offices in Gungahlin until recently) and enormous holding costs while ACTPLA and co dithered endlessly over building approvals. While Stanhope and co were preoccupied with constructing human-rights approved jails and acknowledging the traditional owners of the ACT and all that other PC nonsense, guys like Snow were actually getting on with business. I say, good on him.

JC 9:35 pm 04 Aug 11

The reason office vacancies are so high is 100% because of Snowtown which has been built without ANY planning controls what so ever. We can thank Mr Seselja mate and ex PM Mr Howard for this situation. Guess Zed wants the taxpayer to continue to line the pockets of the liberal party benefactors.

Primal 7:18 pm 04 Aug 11

Isn’t it just as much – if not moreso – poor planning and decision making by the idiots building new office blocks in such a market? At least the Pleasure Dome has a guaranteed tenant.

p1 6:50 pm 04 Aug 11

I have an idea.

If the govenment builds a nice new building (pleasure dome if you will), it will make vacancy rates even higher. This will have the following effects: Prices for space will drop, attracting business; people will stop building crap new office buildings for while; and that might free up some tradies to build houses.

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