An 18-storey mixed-use development slated for Allara Street is the latest project aiming to enliven Canberra’s tired CBD.
Colliers International will officially launch the 190-unit Highgate complex next month.
The $70 million project will replace the four-storey Boulevarde office building at 20 Allara Street.
An existing 12-storey office building facing Allara Street at the southern end of the block will remain.
Highgate will offer 63 one-bedroom, 97 two-bedroom and 30 three-bedroom apartments, plus two levels of commercial space on the ground floor and first floor.
A podium on the 10th storey will include a gym, swimming pool, private theatre and outdoor area.
Construction is expected to begin early next year and is due to be completed in mid-2018.
Colliers International Canberra director of project marketing, Derek Whitcombe, said the project would help rejuvenate the city, with an expected population of up to 400 people set to eventually call the building home.
Canberra’s lacklustre CBD has been a hot topic among industry bodies for some time, with the Property Council of Australia, Canberra CBD Ltd and the Canberra Business Chamber collating a string of measures to transform the city in a collective action agenda released late last year.
A large part of the problem is Canberra’s office vacancy rate, which is one of the highest in the country.
Plans for Highgate were lodged with the ACT Planning and Land Authority in December.
The project follows Colliers International’s 16-storey Mayfair development on the former site of Canberra House.
Both projects are set to contribute to Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s target of increasing the population of Canberra’s city centre to from 3500 to 20,000 within five to 10 years.
Mr Whitcombe said Highgate’s location, which is close to Canberra Casino, was “equally as good as Mayfair”.
“It’s very close to Canberra Centre, about a 30-metre walk from the end of the building to Myer,” he said.
“You’re very close to Glebe Park. You’re within a stone’s throw of many, many restaurants and cafes, which people really look for when buying city apartments.
“It’s surrounded by a number of public service buildings and that will appeal to people working in that area.”
Mr Whitcombe said Highgate had attracted interest from local and interstate buyers and investors, as well as downsizers.
“A lot of people really like the fact they can push a button and go down the lift and be a few steps away from a whole lot of restaurants, cafes and bars – and don’t need a car,” he said.
Many of these were parties who had missed out on buying into Mayfair.
“Quite a few apartments in the Mayfair development sold out fairly quickly,” he said.
“I think we will see activity in the VIP phase of selling [Highgate].”
Mr Whitcombe said Morris Property Group, the construction group behind Mayfair and Highgate, had carried over many of Mayfair’s popular design features to its latest project.
For more information, visit highgatecanberra.com.au