The Suburban Land Agency is still negotiating the details of the Kingston Arts Precinct with developer Geocon two years after the developer was awarded the tender, pushing back the start of construction more than a year.
Meantime, one of the arts groups supposed to shift there has pulled out. The Canberra Potters' Society will remain in Watson.
Geocon, along with architects Fender Katsalidis and landscape and urban design firm Oculus, won the tender to develop the last available Kingston Foreshore block in February 2017, but no details of the winning bid or Geocon's proposals were released.
It is unclear why progress appears to have stalled.
A spokesman for the ACT government said the Suburban Land Agency and Geocon were "working in good faith" to finalise negotiations, which include community engagement, negotiations with arts organisations and consultation with the National Capital Design Review Panel. The Suburban Land Agency expects contract negotiations to be finish by March 2019, after which the developer would lodge a development application.
Arts organisations involved have signed confidentiality agreements to be able to see designs for the precinct and parts of the tender submission.
Canberra Glassworks, Megalo, M16 Artspace, Craft ACT, Canberra Contemporary Artspace, PhotoAccess and ArtSound, which are designated "key arts organisations", are participating in the process.
The Canberra Potters' Society pulled out of the process in July 2017, director Richard Thomas said.
"The current facilities we enjoy at Watson Arts Centre adequately serve our current and future needs," he said.
All mention of the project has disappeared from Geocon's website, and the developer directed questions about the project to the Suburban Land Agency.
Geocon managing director Nick Georgialis said in February 2017 the precinct would be the "jewel in the crown" of the Kingston Foreshore.
A meeting of the Kingston and Barton Residents Group was told in March 2017 that the precinct would include 7000 square metres of arts facilities and 11 apartments for visiting artists.
The meeting was addressed by the Land Development Agency's director of urban projects, Nick Holt, and the director of cultural Canberra in the Chief Minister's directorate, Adam Stankevicius.
The residents group was told contracts would be finalised by September 2017 and building would begin on arts facilities in early 2019.
Now, construction is expected to begin sometime after March 2020, the Suburban Land Agency has said.
The developer would have to get the necessary statutory approvals for the precinct after the contracts and delivery agreements were finalised in March, a process expected to take between 12 and 18 months.
"The government, during 2018, undertook further review of the likely capital and operational costs for the future territory assets in order to deliver its commitment and support for the realisation of the Kingston Arts Precinct," a spokesman for the ACT government said.
The Suburban Land Agency contracted consultants Ernst and Young for $164,999 to prepare a business case for the precinct in 2018, the agency's annual report shows.
A 2013 masterplan for the precinct said the area could deliver up to 150 apartments and a parking structure for 500 cars.
The proposed carpark would mean the heritage-listed 1948 switch room was demolished. It is currently used as artist accommodation at the north of the site.
A government spokesman said the building would be used for artist accommodation until new facilities were created.
"Consideration of the switch room will form part of Geocon's development proposal and program," he said.
The National Trust and local residents are opposed to the demolition of the building, which was built during the second period the Kingston Powerhouse was used to supply the capital's electricity.
The Suburban Land Agency took over management of the project after it was created when the Land Development Agency was carved up in 2017 after it faced criticism over land deals and worsening housing affordability.