A handful of local developers have snapped up three former public housing complexes across Canberra, which also represent some of the last of the territory's asset recycling initiative blocks.
Griffith's troubled Stuart Flats were split into four separate blocks for Wednesday's auction at Manuka Oval, with Morris Property Group - fronted by director Barry Morris and a man unknown to agents, Tony Yeend - snapping up three of them.
Their combined $55.62 million haul included the largest of the Stuart blocks, which was 12,080 square metres and allowed for 282 units. Other blocks they nabbed were $12 million for 100 units and $3.62 million for 32 units.
The blocks, which are zoned for high-density residential but could also be used as boarding houses, community centres, health facilities or retirement villages among other things, would be used for residential purposes, Barry Morris said.
"I think the competition today was about what we anticipated," Mr Yeend said. "We're looking forward to getting on with it."
The fourth and final of the Stuart blocks, which was 3695 square metres and allowed for 70 units, was sold to Daniel Bisa of Bisa Property for $8.25 million. The development company was behind the East Hotel in Kingston.
Narrabundah's former Gowrie Court was auctioned off as a single 13,775 square-metre parcel with the potential for 177 units. James Service, who is the managing director of JGS Property, was the winning bidder with an offer of about $20.36 million, but he did not say whom he was representing on Wednesday.
The former Strathgordon Court in Lyons was the only block sold on the premise that 70 of the possible 492 units would have to be affordable housing. The highest bidder, an unknown Canberra developer, came in below the reserve at about $13.6 million. He was in post auction negotiations with the agents.
"I think [the auction] achieved a good level of interest both at the local and interstate level," managing director of JLL, who coordinated the sales along with Colliers International, Andrew Balzanelli said.
"The competition was strong but rightly so for the type of blocks that we've got. They're blocks that will never have that opportunity again being so close to Manuka village and the environment in the inner south.
"That's totally different to Lyons, which is in exclusive negotiation at the moment but we're confident of an outcome on that as well."
Peak community housing organisation ACT Shelter had previously said it was frustrated by the small amount of affordable housing units required for all the blocks. The 70 in Lyons were out of a total 1153 units expected.
The ACT government had previously suggested that up to 10 per cent of the redeveloped blocks could be affordable or public housing.
"We cannot allow high amenity locations to become devoid of social and affordable housing in the event of urban renewal in in-fill sites," ACT Shelter's executive officer, Travis Gilbert, said.
Asset recycling is a commonwealth initiative that offers incentives to state and territory governments to sell off their old and decrepit properties. Profits from the sale go back into the territory.
The government had lodged development applications for the demolition of all three sites last year but the developers who buy the sites were now required to do it themselves.