The coronavirus pandemic has plunged the future of a prime Canberra city site into uncertainty with Morris Property Group announcing its One City Hill project has halted.
Up to 1200 apartments were planned for the 2.6 hectare site bounded by London Circuit, Edinburgh Avenue and Vernon Circle.
Morris Property Group director Barry Morris said, in a written statement, the coronavirus pandemic had forced the project to be shelved.
"We know the property space inside out but nobody could have predicted the coronavirus and the economic impact it had," he said.
Construction on the first stage of the site, dubbed The Barracks, began in November, which included 345 residential apartments, 750 public car spaces and 600 square metres of retail space.
Mr Morris said sales targets had not been reached for One City Hill. There had been 120 buyers.
In the first instance, buyers had been offered to transfer their deposit to other Morris Property Group projects and would receive an incentive if they chose to do this.
Mr Morris commercial opportunities would be explored for the One City Hill site.
"We won't be making any quick decisions. It's an extremely important site for Canberra and we intend to deliver a landmark development - in whatever form that may be," he said.
Morris Property Group purchased the car park site in 2018 for $85 million.
This is not the first time development on the city site has been suspended with its former owners forced to abandon plans following the global financial crisis.
The Section 100 site, formerly known as Section 63, was purchased by Mirvac in 2007, which bought the site from the ACT government for $93 million.
Mirvac, in a joint venture with Leightons, had planned a $755 million development for the site that included four buildings up to 13 storeys high, as well as parking for 3000 cars and potentially a hotel.
Those plans, announced in March 2008, were put on hold later that year in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Excavation works have taken place on the site but construction has not yet started. The site is currently just a large hole in the ground.
It is not the first major project in the territory to have fallen to the coronavirus pandemic with the long-awaited Dickson Coles development also delayed.
It came as Canberra's apartment boom is set to slow according to a report from the Housing Industry Association. The forecast said work on 1870 units were expected to start next financial year, which is down 60 per cent from the peak of the high-rise housing boom in 2018-19.
Mr Morris said other projects from the group, which included city development Park Avenue and Manuka development Renaissance had not been affected, and that the shelving of One City Hill was an isolated decision.
As part of the deed of the sale Morris Property Group was required to complete an extension of Edinburgh Avenue and works are currently underway to complete that.
"The extension will provide better connections into the city centre and is expected to be complete by August this year," Mr Morris said.