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Belconnen’s New Republic

Calum Stenning

It’s a brave new world for the North.

Republic, a new urban estate has been unveiled by Fender Katsalidis, Oculus and Geocon, and it’s going to change everything.

Since it opened, the NewActon precinct has been the handsome and all-encompassing place to be. But a $700 million development has been announced that will add a new dimension to Canberra, bringing glass towers, sky gardens and rooftop terraces in Canberra’s first urban estate. From the same minds that brought the award winning Nishi Building to the clamouring masses comes Republic – Belconnen’s own breath of fresh air on Section 200.

David Sutherland from Fender Katsalidis Architects says Republic is intended to be both destination and stepping stone.

“It will be a destination for living, working, visiting and enjoying. It will be a stepping stone as a result of the linkages it creates and encourages in this locale: from the southern extremities of the city through to the lake, and from the University to central Belconnen and public transport interchange.”

The development has a gold nugget position smack in the town centre, bordered by Cameron Avenue, Emu Bank, Eastern Valley Way and the Belconnen Labor Club, and the list of proposed features is long and impressive. Really impressive. Change-the-face-and-function-of-Canberra impressive. Too-long-and-detailed-for-this-format impressive. But here are some highlights: it will be home to Canberra’s tallest building. And Canberra’s first public “sky deck.” Public parks, laneways of boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, and, amongst many other features (and possibly most exciting – let’s be real) 500+ carparks.

“We are focussed also on building communities and all our developments include spectacular communal spaces,” says Geocon’s Managing Director, Nick Georgalis.

As is to be expected, there is already a buzz humming around the development, with many Belconnen residents excited about the new hub Section 200 is creating.

“Belconnen is a diverse, population-dense area; it makes perfect sense for developers to start utilising this part of Canberra – looking outside of the inner city suburbs. In terms of location, I think that this area would be the perfect canvas for this type of development,” says Belconnenite Javier Steel.

“The lake is beautiful, I love the idea of drawing people out of the shopping centre and into ‘Melbourne style’ laneways”.

Despite the presence of established and busy shopping centres and offices at Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong, Civic has always remained the beating heart of Canberra. But as Canberra gradually grows towards the borders of the ACT, Civic becomes more and more distant. Could Section 200 become the second beating heart of the capital? Only time will tell, but if the success of NewActon is anything to go by, Belconnen, and Canberra, should prepare itself for a renaissance.

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Calum Stenning

Calum Stenning is Her Canberra’s newest and most male (read: only) intern. Three years spent living overseas has given him a renewed appreciation for Canberra life. Every day starts with coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald crossword at a favourite coffee haunt, as he is wary of the perils of dementia, and thinks crosswords are a viable safeguard. If he lives to a dementia-appropriate age (evidence says he won’t), he’ll let us know. More about the Author

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