Cartier Masthead Final Weeks

Belconnen: The purchase of Section 200

Wendy Johnson

At the moment it’s a barren piece of land in a town centre with a carpark attached to it. But the sale of Section 200 to the biggest property developer in the apartment space in Canberra, is huge news for Belconnen because it aims to build a stronger community.

GEOCON bought the land for $22.1 million, beating out 10 other bidders. One of those bidders was a prominent Asian developer.

Even though Canberra isn’t a mega city, like Sydney and Melbourne, property is sizzling hot in the capital and the market continually surprises. Investors from overseas are increasingly trawling through the capital, aggressively bidding for land, especially centrally located blocks ripe for inner city, mixed-use developments. GEOCON’s win means the development of this strategic site will be kept local. Bingo for the bush capital.

But back to Belco.

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What happens on this site is a big deal since the development is taking place in one of Canberra’s fastest growing commercial hubs. It has a gold nugget position smack in the town centre, bordered by Cameron Avenue, Emu Bank, Eastern Valley Way and the Belconnen Labor Club. It’s the second largest brownfield land site purchase in ACT history and the biggest in the last eight years.

The sales price smashed market expectations but for GEOCON the 16,314 square-metre block of land is a sign of confidence in the area. It is just across the road from the Emu Bank waterfront entertainment precinct with its restaurants, bars and eateries. Location. Location. Location.

Canberrans, especially those living and working in the area, will be watching closely. After all, the site is only minutes to Belconnen Town Centre, two minutes to Canberra Stadium, a short walk to Canberra University and only seven minutes to the city.

So now that GEOCON has bought Section 200, what are the plans?

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The sale came with a master plan developed and approved by the ACT Government requiring a medium to high density residential component to be built and a large car park, currently adjacent to the Labor Club, retained. It’s early days but GEOCON is already on the case.

“It’s all about urban revitalisation,” says GEOCON’s managing director, Nick Georgalis. “Our vision for Section 200 is to develop a world-class, mixed-use precinct combining residential apartments with commercial, retail and public use offerings. We’ll research some of the most advanced, successful precincts operating nationally and internationally to inform design and planning.”

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Tara Cheyne, the Chair of the Belconnen Community Council, says the sale is definitely ‘significant’ and that town centres in Canberra need to ‘become more dense’.

“Our vision is for a vibrant town centre that is easy to walk around, with lots of interesting things for people to do and see, and opportunities to linger,” says Tara. “We especially welcome commercial diversification. The residential developments in the town centre in the last 10 years has meant the town centre has come to life. Development now needs to continue in a sustainable, measured way and we need to continue to ensure there’s harmony between built form and preserving open space.”

The purchase is in line with the GEOCON’s ‘Building Canberra’ vision and national trends to use dead blocks of land to improve inner-city landscapes for people, communities and businesses, and to stimulate economic growth.

GEOCON is already active in Belconnen, developing the ACT’s tallest residential building. The sod has turned on Wayfarer Apartments, a stone’s throw from Section 200. The 88-metre high tower, which will include 331 apartments, offers much more than height says Nick.

“It features a grand entrance, an infinity pool with sky roof, a sky lounge with 360-degree views, over-sized balconies and kitchens with appliance hand-selected by famous chef Tetsuya Wakuda.

“The Wayfarer will have a positive impact on the Belconnen community, bringing in more business to the area and cementing Belconnen as a thriving suburb part of this great city,” he says.

Images are artists impressions supplied by GEOCON.

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

  • Sports Opinion

    Just hurry up. 70+ thousand Belconnens desperately looking for an excuse to