EXCLUDED: Andrew Rudnicki expects to lose millions at Kingston's shopping centre if his plans for six-storey developments are blocked. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Andrew Rudnicki feels like he has been kicked out of Kingston's shopping centre.
The former public servant and developer does not expect sympathy from Kingston residents.
But unless he can build to six storeys in the shopping centre, he will challenge the ACT government in court.
Mr Rudnicki bought the Commonwealth Bank and Kingston Chambers buildings in Giles Street to redevelop, expecting to go to six storeys until he read a Canberra Times story on height changes.
''When I read the legislation, I got a real shock,'' Mr Rudnicki said. He stands to lose millions of dollars through lost development rights.
''We would have challenged this recommendation if we had known; we think we have a strong argument,'' said Mr Rudnicki, the managing director of Stryver Pty Ltd, his family's property business.
The draft variation has an interim effect, which means it applies from the time Planning Minister Simon Corbell was notified of its recommendations.
Responding to concerns of overshadowing from neighbours, government planners have removed a four-storey envelope (with potential for six levels) and reverted to two storeys (with potential for four storeys).
On Mr Rudnicki's reading of the draft, his two buildings have been excised from the Kingston shopping centre.
Stryver owns commercial and residential property in and outside the ACT.
A former Commonwealth public servant, Mr Rudnicki managed property and leasing for the Australian government, getting an insight into planning across the nation.
''Canberra is the most difficult; people get a real shock, it is very controlled, very regulated,'' he said.
Fifteen years ago he began the Kingston redevelopment, one of two projects he has in the high density suburb, where towers a block away rise to 14 and 16 storeys.
He bought a building from the Commonwealth Bank for $1.5 million. It is still tenanted by the bank. About six years ago he won an appeals tribunal case to broaden uses to cover just about every land use, from shops to hospitals to art galleries and units, after surrounding neighbours objected.
For about three years Mr Rudnicki negotiated to buy Kingston Chambers, securing the building for $2.85 million, a price influenced by the development rights.
A dentist, accountant, psychologist and The Lone Fathers Association are tenants. Combined, the two blocks cover about 2300 square metres with access from Giles Street and a rear lane.
After redevelopment, commercial tenancies would continue on the lower levels, and units, including penthouses, would occupy the upper levels, which could include lake views if six storeys are permitted.
Mr Rudnicki says he is laying open his development plans to be transparent.
He wants the government to do the same, to explain why six storeys was taken off the drawing board without at least contacting him.
He is asking what professional analysis was done to override the expert advice that guided the master plan.
''We are not going for the jugular; we're just going for an appropriate thing, and natural justice. We've been cut out of the group centre, which is pretty outrageous, really.''
Recommendations in Draft Variation 314 are being considered by Mr Corbell.