The Canberra property market is tough, especially if you're trying to break into the inner north with less than $1 million in your pocket.
So here's something for you to ponder before you hit the streets for weekly open homes and auctions.
If you had a choice between a renovator's delight (great grass but a leaky roof) in the suburbs, a new development on a tight block close to the city or more space out of town, which do you go for?
The ACT government has added the prospect of building a stadium at Exhibition Park to its $14 billion infrastructure plan, which includes a new sporting venue likely to be built after 2025.
Two superannuation funds have expressed interest in investing in the stadium project, which could fast track things because it eases the financial burden on the government.
It has been more than a decade of ideas, achitects, talks and ... more ideas. Canberra sports fans just want to see the plans and some action.
The project will cost between $200-$500 million depending on the preferred location. So before we pay the deposit, let's check out the three options:
- Knocking down and rebuilding Canberra Stadium, subject to Sport Australia's plans to redevelop the AIS site;
- Building a new stadium in Civic to connect Canberra sport to pubs, restaurants and cafes, or;
- Building a stadium at EPIC and creating a new precinct in Mitchell.
REFURB THE OLD GIRL
Canberra Stadium was built in 1977 and has had ongoing maintenance and upgrades since, but minimal work in the past five years.
The Meninga Stand will be at the end of its 50-year lifespan by 2027, which the government is using as its timeline for stadium plans.
THE PROS: This option solves any problems with having to move roads or knocking down and relocating pools. There is plenty of land at the AIS and Sport Australia is looking to cut in half its 65 hectare site.
If the government buys the land, it could build a better precinct around the stadium to include apartments, cafes, shops and restaurants.
As the only tennant of Canberra Stadium, the government will likely get a good deal to take over a rundown facility. Staying at Bruce would keep a familiar feel to Canberra's sporting environment.
THE CONS: A staged rebuild would make the stadium a construction zone for several years before completion, disrupting Brumbies and Raiders seasons.
Staying at the existing location doesn't solve any issues around transport, parking and game-day atmosphere.
Most would think staying at Bruce would be the cheapest option. But the cost of knocking down existing stands and re-configuring a stadium has its own problems and sizeable price tag
This is preferred option for the ACT Brumbies, the Canberra Raiders and the capital's A-League bid.
THE PROS: Close to the city, close to transport and takes advantage of existing restaurants and hotels. A study into the new Parramatta stadium suggested surrounding business received a $1 million boost on every game day this year.
Some will say Civic parking would be a problem. But there are 4800 spaces at the Canberra Centre compared to 3000 at Canberra Stadium. Putting a roof on it could create an exhibition of function venue to make it a versatile space.
THE CONS: The orientation of the stadium may force major roadworks on Parkes Way to either shift it or build over the top of it. The government also needs to find a new location for a pool close to the city, which must be done before building a stadium. It looms as the most expensive option.
AN EPIC IDEA
A newcomer to the plan, which shifts the stadium to Mitchell to take advantage of more space.
THE PROS: Exhibition Park is already connected to light rail and is close enough to the Dickson shops for a pre-match beer. It also takes advantage of the growing Gungahlin region. There is plenty of space for a new stadium to be built as part of a redevelopment of the site. The redevelopment could include an entertainment precinct.
It would ideally limit costs given the government would not have to relocate a pool or road, or have to stage the build over an extended period.
THE CONS: Location, location, location! Southsiders would be angry at having to travel so far to attend events and there are limited entertainment venues at the site.
Exhibition Park has the same problem as the existing stadium - a lack of atmosphere before and after games. People go to events for the atmosphere, not the good seat.
It has to be Civic. Yes it has its complications and it will be expensive, but it makes so much sense. Transport, food, drink and location? Tick, tick, tick and tick.