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Builders and elderly get rare chance at private Belconnen land

Matthew Raggatt

Published: August 29 2015 - 11:30PM

A "rare" and long awaited Belconnen property sale will give builders and downsizing older buyers a chance to snare land converted from a golf club 13 years ago.

First auctions for the 350 dwellings at Ginninderra Estate at Holt were tipped to draw strong interest on Tuesday.

The Housing Industry Association's ACT executive director Neil Evans said the development provided an unusual opportunity for older Belconnen residents to age in place.

"In terms of a purely private development, I think this would be one of a kind for a few years in the Belconnen region," he said.

David O'Keeffe, of Woodhaven Investments, which has owned the land since 2001, said the development had faced extended delays but the philosophy to create options for older but independent purchasers had stayed the same.

The Belconnen Magpies Sports Club board, which controls the Magpies golf club, closed holes 19 to 27 in 2003 because they were not viable for the club to maintain.

Mr O'Keeffe said first home buyers and builders were expected to raise competition, but more accessible prices were expected than in recent smaller sales in Moncrieff and Coombs.

"For the mid-sized blocks, they might sell for between $200,000 to $250,000," he said.

"Comparable multi-unit land has sold in Moncrieff for $170,000 to $180,000 per dwelling.

"Even though this land is better in terms of distance and travel time to the city, and the views, we wouldn't expect that much."

The sale includes 44 mid-sized blocks of 350 square metres, 26 compact lots of 250 square metres and six multi-unit sites, which would allow for a total 56 townhouses to be built.

Real Estate Institute of the ACT board member Michael Kumm said the land release was "rare and well-needed", with a general shortage in Canberra for single-dwelling blocks.

Independent Property Group project marketing director Wayne Harriden said most inquiries he had received were from builders.

Mr O'Keeffe said the generously-sized townhouses – with an average dwelling size of 408 square metres – provided options for the older demographic and he hoped the majority would be built at a single level.

"We recognise that this type of land has not been offered for many years, whereby you have as much open space within the development and the opportunity to do single-level townhouses," he said.

Woodhaven Investments, which owns the golf club land – leased to the Belconnen Magpies Golf Club since 2002 – backed a rezoning which occurred four years ago to allow for residential development.

Mr O'Keeffe said as part of the development there would be dedicated practice facilities and a new golf hole built within an expected 12-month time frame. A major renovation of the clubhouse would occur next year, with a community centre to be added to the clubhouse site.

A further auction day for the next stage of sales was expected before the end of the year, with a final, much smaller, auction flagged for the second quarter of 2016.

Construction of dwellings has been forecast to begin next July.

The auction occurs at 10am on Tuesday, September 1, at the Ainslie Football Club.

Correction: an earlier version of this article incorrectly said the golf course landowner Woodhaven Investments closed holes 19 to 27. The decision was made by the Belconnen Magpies Sports Club board, which controls the Magpies golf club.

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