A new $150 million development will rise in the heart of Canberra’s Constitution Place after the ACT Government announced the sale of the site to Capital Property Group – the development arm of the Canberra Airport.
Announced by the ACT Government today, construction on the six-level commercial building, located on the corner of Vernon Circle and Constitution Avenue, will commence in mid-2024 and is scheduled for delivery in late 2026.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was thrilled with the “integrated precinct design. Adding that Capital Property Group will “deliver a really innovative building that would complement the existing precinct and the planned cultural district.”
“This is a high-quality and sustainable development that will further enliven the world-class civic and culture district planned for the city centre.”
Designed by Bates Smart, the same architect who designed Constitutional Place, the six-level office tower will use a hybrid timber construction system, “where part of the building structure and fabric will be built from sustainable timber, further reducing the building’s carbon footprint.”
Bates Smart has a long history with mass timber construction systems and was the architect behind 25 King Street in Brisbane, which for a time was the world’s tallest mass timber building.
One of Australia’s most innovative buildings, it was opened in 2018 as part of the $2.9 billion renewal of the Brisbane RNA Showgrounds.
The building will be a crucial part of Constitution Place, initially developed by Charles Weston, the city’s first superintendent of parks and gardens.
In the heart of the National Triangle, it is located adjacent to Magna Carta Place to the western end of Old Parliament House.
The project continues the renewal of the city centre alongside the Canberra Theatre redevelopment and evolving Acton Waterfront.
According to Stephen Byron, Capital Property Group’s CEO, the project team is “passionate about Canberra and continuing to make it Australia’s most vibrant, liveable city.”
“We are committed to setting a new standard of excellence for office development and further revitalising Canberra’s City Centre,” he said before adding, “It will provide high-quality, centrally located office accommodation to meet the city’s growing needs.”
Mr Byron was confident the demand was there for new office space despite more staff working from home, saying the greater risk was higher interest rates and costs, one reason why he was keen to make a start on construction as early as March next year, with completion in the second half of 2026.
He said significant corporate clients were already showing interest in the building, which would be able to house about 1000 staff.
“Businesses are interested in getting their teams back to work and workplaces to work collaboratively. You do that by offering the best quality workplace in terms of fit,” he said.
“I think people who are coming into work do want flexibility in how they come to work and what they get when they arrive there. So we’ll have the best quality end-of-trip facilities in Canberra.”
The new development places a strong emphasis on sustainability, targeting a WELL Gold-rated Shell and Core and will be aiming for a 5-star NABERS energy rating.
It will also feature a 99kw roof-mounted solar array and have no gas plant, allowing for the building to be 100% carbon neutral in operation.
“Our experience in award-winning precinct design, honed over 25 years at Canberra Airport, positions us well to harness the full potential of the opportunity with this project.”
The sale was completed through a competitive tender process with the ACT Government via the City Renewal Authority. JLL ACT managed the land sale.