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January 16, 2018

Doma has lodged plans for four new buildings on the old Dickson motor registry site, including apartments, restaurants, shops and an office building to house ACT public servants. Public comment on the two separate development applications closes in the last week of January. Work is planned to start this week to demolish the former motor registry. The buildings will cost $160 million and stand up to 25 metres high, and include a new “Civic Plaza” and a narrower zone of shops and cafes, bringing a promised “Melbourne laneway feel”.

At the southern part of the site a 13,000 square metre government office building will house Access Canberra. Opening on to Northbourne Avenue, where the new tram will run and also on to a new “Civic Plaza”, it will be six stories high.

Across the Civic Plaza will stand a 144-unit apartment building, with six levels, first-floor childcare and ground-floor shopping. Opening on to the new bus interchange, the buildings in Civic Plaza have been designed to protect the plaza from southerly winds and prevailing northwesterly winds, according to the application.

The northern block will also have two buildings, each seven levels. They will contain 249 apartments, ground-floor shops and restaurants, a “deli market” and a medical centre. Between the two northern buildings, the developers plan a narrow, six-metre wide “Challis Lane”, including cafes and designed to create “a more intimate urban experience rarely seen in Canberra”.

Under the northern building is proposed another two levels of basement parking, with 354 carparks – 322 of them for residents of the apartments. Both carparks will work by number-plate recognition.

The parking code in the Territory Plan specifies one parking space for each one-bedroom apartment and an average of 1.5 parks for each two-bedroom apartment.

The traffic assessment from consultants Aecom says the recommended parking requirement was for 753 and the supply of 776 spaces was expected to be adequate. The development would generate 582 vehicles at the peak time in the evening rush hour. While Northbourne was constrained, the intersections of Challis Street could cope with increased demand. The impact on Badham Street would be “manageable”, with a 7.5 per cent increase in traffic at peak times.

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