Construction has begun on the first stage of a cross-border residential development set to deliver about 6500 new homes in the ACT.
Stage one of the Ginninderry project, which is a 60:40 joint venture between the ACT government and Corkhill Brothers subsidiary Riverview Developments, includes 350 homes powered solely by electricity.
Riverview Developments managing director David Maxwell said most of the stage one sections, in the new north-west Canberra suburb of Strathnairn, had already been sold.
"The civil works will be finished in about March or April next year, then the house builders will move in on the land," Mr Maxwell said.
"A house is usually built over about a six- to eight-month period, so we’re hoping that of those new residents, the majority of them will move in late next year or early 2020.
"About 40 per cent of them are first home buyers, which shows the affordability of our homes."
Canberra company Huon Contractors is carrying out more than $30 million worth of civil engineering works for stage one, which has created 250 jobs.
The joint venture has about 30 stages of works planned on both sides of the NSW/ACT border, with a total of 11,500 new homes, though the NSW part of the project still requires state government approval.
Mr Maxwell said he expected the NSW government would issue a gateway determination sometime in the second half of 2019, with construction across the border to begin in 2033 if approved.
The overall project is set to run until 2056, with the next hurdle for Riverview Developments being the public consultation process for stage two of the development, which involves the construction of 814 homes in the ACT.
Mr Maxwell said he hoped that process would begin in June or July.
"People can hopefully start buying those blocks later this year," he said.
At a sod turning ceremony to mark the start of construction on Friday, ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry said the development, bounded by the Murrumbidgee River and Ginninderra Creek, would set a standard for others to follow.
"Rather than just having bricks and mortar, we're building a community for people to come together," she said.
"It will be an example to the rest of the country, and to the world, of what sustainable living should actually look like."
Stage one was last year given the green light by the ACT planning directorate in the face of environmental concerns raised by the territory's conservator of flora and fauna, who opposed the removal of 20 regulated, hollow bearing and habitat trees.
The Ginninderra Falls Association also objected, highlighting concerns about the impact of the development on species including pink-tailed worm lizards, little eagles and golden sun moths.
The development as a whole also required Commonwealth approval, and the federal government responded by imposing 13 specific environmental conditions, including that the developers put aside land for a "conservation corridor" and set up an environmental trust.
Mr Maxwell said Riverview Developments was "inherently committed to" conservation, while Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said sustainability was "in the DNA" of the project team.
"What is so special about Ginninderry is that it’s the first project in the ACT to be certified as a Green Star community, and it’s six stars, which is the highest you can get," Ms Madew said.
"Sustainability is embedded in everything they think and do here."