On a corridor where many of its neighbouring buildings are being torn down, a dated, former government office building has been turned into a four star hotel.
Sitting on the corner of Northbourne and MacArthur Avenues, The Mantra MacArthur is Canberra's new four-star hotel, and the only hotel to open in the nation's capital in 2017.
Canberra developers HTI Group bought the building vacant three years ago, not long after offices for Defence were moved out. Seeing value in the existing shell of the building, HTI Group opted to keep the building, and spent $19 million on a retrofit to convert it to a hotel.
"Northbourne Avenue's regeneration has been largely the product of major knockdown-rebuild projects but, instead of sending the 10-storey building to landfill or concrete recyclers, we've transformed it into a full-service hotel in what looks like a brand new building," said HTI Group director Adam Howarth.
"The former building is barely recognisable and, while the main precast facade elements of the original office building were retained, the remainder was stripped back to a bare shell to allow us to create a modern hotel."
Mantra Group, who owns Mantra, Peppers and Breakfree hotels, were chosen as the operators for the property.
The new Mantra MacArthur hotel has 136 hotel rooms and 40 suites, plus a Mediterranean-style restaurant and bar, gym, and conference and meeting spaces.
Construction took around 10 months, and the hotel opened to the public earlier this month.
Designed by AMC Architecture, the hotel has a modern industrial design, incorporating some exposed elements from the building's shell in the public areas, and this is the second time the architecture firm has completed an office-to-hotel conversion in Canberra.
"About a year before, we had completed exactly this same thing for Abode in Woden," said Luke Stanton from AMC Architecture.
"Everything was taken out - the lifts were taken out, all the entire fitout was taken out to a bare shell. The windows remained on the upper floors, and in the public areas on the lower ground and ground we just cut larger windows, and added a balcony to the dining area."
HTI Group is also constructing an apartment building on the same block, which includes an underground carpark with a section for use by hotel guests.
Minor cosmetic changes have been made to the hotel's exterior, and the entire building will be painted next year.