The developer of the derelict Giralang shops site has lodged plans for a new four-storey development that includes a 1000 square-metre supermarket and 50 residential apartments.
After more than a decade of failed redevelopment bids, the new plans have been generally well received by residents in the north Canberra suburb, which has been without a shopping centre since developer Nikias Diamond first submitted plans to redevelop the site in 2005.
The new development application seeks permission for a 1000 square-metre supermarket on the ground floor, along with five smaller commercial or community tenancies, which the project design team hopes will include a cafe, bakery and restaurant or takeaway outlet.
The top three storeys, including a loft, would house 50 apartments, ranging from one- to three-bedroom configurations. Residents would have access to 92 parking spaces in the basement, with 22 underground parking spots for shoppers. A further 50 spaces for shoppers would be available on ground level.
The Giralang shops site has been the subject of four failed development applications since 2005, including one in which construction on a 1500 square-metre supermarket was halted by a court challenge from three surrounding supermarkets and eventually scrapped.
The developer and community group leaders are confident they have found a way to balance their needs, with the Giralang Residents Action Group generally supportive of the new plans. The group had also been in favour of the last failed proposal, which would have seen a 1500 square-metre supermarket built.
Action group chairman Bill Burmester said after having long called for more consultation with the developer, locals had been impressed by Nikias Diamond's willingness to incorporate the wider community into the proposed development, with a number of off-site works also included in the new development application.
They include a new footpath and the addition of 14 parking spaces on the western side of Menkar Close, and reconfiguration of the Giralang Primary School car park to include an extra 17 parking spots and a new drop-off point.
Nikias Diamond has also promised to match the ACT government's contribution to the construction of the long-promised Giralang Park, for which it has a $100,000 budget.
"Finally, there's been some thorough consultation with the community, which we appreciate," Mr Burmester said.
"The priority of the community is to get the shops constructed, after nearly 15 years without shops.
"The developer has made some compromises in good faith and we see [the proposed development] as a package that is integrated into the local environment, so there's some community goodwill towards it getting underway."
A spokesperson for the development design team said the supermarket would likely be operated by an independent grocer, but negotiations would not begin until the development application had been approved.
The redevelopment abandoned in 2015 contained a 1500 square-metre supermarket, but the ACT government has since limited supermarkets to 1000 square metres. Following the introduction of that policy, Woolworths scrapped its plans to open a store on the site.
"It's obviously going to be a different operator than a Woolworths or a Coles," the spokesperson said.
"It'll be an IGA or an independent grocer, but there's capacity for it to work at that size."
The spokesperson said the proposed development would "bring life" to Giralang, with the project team hoping the smaller ground floor spaces would include a coffee shop, bakery, and restaurant or takeaway outlet. A local Jewish community group had also expressed interest in leasing one of the spaces, he said.
"I think the big thing is we've listened to the community, and they see [the proposed development] as a win," the spokesperson said.
"They've been without a shopping centre for over 10 years, and as a mixed-use development, having the supermarket there will attract other good tenants.
"Having people living on-site, too, will bring life to it, and it will definitely be a boost to the retailers."
Member for Yerrabi Suzanne Orr said she was pleased to see the developer taking the community's needs into account.
"The Giralang community has long been calling to be included in the discussion on this development and since I have been advocating on their behalf I am thrilled to see the developer taking this important step."
The redevelopment plans are open for public consultation until May 18.