ACT News


Raiders' cut price offer for prime site

The Canberra Raiders want to demolish the Braddon Club and build a multimillion-dollar retail and apartment complex on the site.

The rugby league outfit has offered the ACT government just $320,000 for full control of the prime development site on the edge of Civic.

The Raiders want to knock down the club and build a mixed-use development - apartments, office, shops and restaurants - at the site.

No plans have been lodged for the next-door Braddon Oval and details of the planned development at the site were scarce, with club officials not responding on Friday to requests for an interview.

According to documents lodged to the planning authority ACTPLA, the poker machines at the club would be moved to the Raiders' other gaming venues around Canberra.

The Raiders group is easily the region's biggest operator of poker machines with more than 830 pokies in seven clubs across the ACT and Queanbeyan but it is increasingly diversifying into its growing property empire, citing the uncertainty surrounding the poker machine business.


A report prepared for the club by private sector consultants says the demolition of the 30-year-old Braddon club and the relocation of its 46 poker machines would have little impact on the venue's membership, very few of whom lived in the immediate neighbourhood. ''Membership is not restricted by geographic area but a majority of patronage is drawn from the commercial precincts of City and Braddon, as well as from local residents,'' the consultants wrote. ''Only about 1300 members live within three kilometres of the Braddon Club.

''As most patronage and membership comes from the City and Braddon workforce, and there are multiple venues of a similar kind in close proximity … it is not considered that the loss of this facility will have any significant impact on the overall licensed club industry.''

But the first hurdle the Raiders must clear is a decision of Planning Minister Simon Corbell that it is ''in the public interest'' for the ACTPLA to even consider changing the land's title from present ''concessional'' status, which stipulates it be used for a community club.

If the proposal is ultimately successful, the club must pay the government an amount calculated to reflect the site's present value.

As part of its application for a new lease and after a professional valuation, the Raiders have offered $320,000 as a ''payout'' amount.

The Raiders are also arguing that their proposal for the site, on the junction of Donaldson Street, Cooyong Street and Torrens Street, is in keeping with government objectives for greater commercial development and higher housing densities in the city centre.

An ACTPLA spokesman said the ball was in the minister's court.

''The Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development must first make a decision to determine whether or not it is in the public interest for the application to be further considered by the planning and land authority,'' she said on Friday. ''If the application to de-concessionalise the lease is approved by the planning and land authority then the proponent is required to pay the payout amount.

''In determining the payout amount, the planning and land authority would seek an independent valuation.''


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