Northbourne Avenue renewal draws strong residential interest

Geocon’s mega Northbourne Avenue project to shape light rail corridorLight rail already a major influence for Canberra property developersNorthbourne Avenue transformation continues with new land for sale at Lyneham

Future Northbourne Avenue residents are looking past the current construction site and towards the thoroughfare’s future.

The first major development at the city end of the light rail corridor, Geocon’s 250-unit complex Midnight, is officially released on Saturday with the opening of the display suite. However, 150 units have already sold.

Managing director Nick Georgalis said the company had sold about 10 apartments a day over the past two weeks.

“Inquiries and interest on this particular project have been through the roof,” Mr Georgalis said.

Mr Georgalis said all unit types from one-bedroom apartments to penthouses have received strong interest and three penthouses averaging $1.4 million were among the apartments that have sold.

The nine-storey building will be built on the existing NRMA House site at 92 Northbourne Avenue, opposite the future Elouera Street tram stop.

In addition to residential apartments, the $185 million project will include a 183-room Abode Hotel, 2500 square metres of commercial space and 200 public care spaces.

Mr Georgalis said Midnight would act as “a precinct within a precinct” and connect Northbourne Avenue to Braddon’s shops and restaurants.

“The location is by far the most prominent in Canberra, but it offers value for money,” Mr Georgalis said.

Trees along Northbourne Avenue’s median strip will be felled by the end of March to make way for the light rail.

Overnight construction work on the tram line has been criticised by current residents.

“[Northbourne Avenue] looks like a war zone at the moment but in 2019, 2020 it’s going to be an avenue that represents what Canberra is,” Mr Georgalis said.

“It’s not the bush capital, it’s an emerging city.”

Mr Georgalis said strong interest in the Midnight project bodes well for other developments slated for the corridor.

A 30,000-square-metre site in Dickson sold for $40 million to the Art Group in August and will include a 697-unit development.

The Art Group will also build a nine-storey, 209-unit complex at 217 Northbourne Avenue in Turner.

Tenders for a 25,000-square-metre site former public housing site in Lyneham closed on Wednesday. It will accommodate up to 500 apartments.

“For the first cab off the rank I think it’s an awesome result,” Mr Georgalis said.

“I think everyone is going to be selling quite quickly when they do release their projects.”

While there has been debate around the supply of apartments in Canberra, Nick Georgalis said the rate of sales indicated an undersupply.

He said the ACT’s growing population, which is expected to surge by 25,000 people over the next four years, would add to the demand.