In five years time, the Woden town centre is likely to look very different.
By 2025, 6500 students will descend on the town centre annually, but the ACT government's approval for a new Canberra Institute of Technology campus in Woden is just one of many developments in the works.
In recent years developers have set their sights on the Woden town centre and there are thousands of apartments proposed.
It comes amid a consensus among residents, politicians and developers alike the Woden town centre has declined over the past decade.
Indeed, a walk around the town centre shows empty buildings with "for lease" signs are a common sight. Outside of Westfield Woden, there are not many people nor businesses.
The Woden town centre had more life 40 years ago than it does today, Woden Valley Community Council president Jenny Stewart said.
But there are slivers of hope starting to emerge as a once-neglected part of the town centre has started to be injected with life.
'A great meeting place for all of Woden to enjoy'
One of the main reasons the Woden town centre declined was due to a mass exodus of public service offices.
In its wake, the public service offices left a number of abandoned towers, such as the Alexander and Albemarle buildings.
From the 1970s to the 2000s, the twin buildings were buzzing with life as they were home to the Department of Health.
But the last workers moved out 10 years ago and the buildings fell into decay - boarded up and vandalised. Through a redevelopment it is hoped the building's former glory could come back to the town centre, according to the building's owner.
It was bought by Canberra developer Doma Group in 2010 and it was intended to be offices. They struggled to find a tenant, so apartments were pursued. In recent weeks, residents have started to move into the 186 apartments, dubbed A&A.
"We acknowledge that the dilapidated condition of the old office buildings held back this area of the Woden town centre," Doma managing director Jure Domazet said.
"We waited patiently for the opportunity to develop an office building that would bring more employment to Woden but called time on this when we decided to develop the buildings into A&A."
Along with the apartments, the building will have ground floor commercial and retail spaces and a childcare centre. Mr Domazet said he hoped it would become a destination in Woden and would link retail and offices.
"It will work to make the area alive with people seven days a week and provide a great meeting place for all of Woden to enjoy," he said.
There are other vacant former public service offices that some hope could have the same fate.
The most notable vacant former public service building in the Woden town centre is Lovett Tower.
At 93 metres, Lovett Tower in the Woden town centre was Canberra's tallest high-rise for almost 50 years. It was only recently overtaken by Geocon's High Society building in Belconnen.
Prior to the ACT government's CIT announcement, independent candidate for Murrumbidgee Fiona Carrick wrote to Chief Minister Andrew Barr proposing Lovett Tower and the nearby Borrowdale House could be refurbished into the CIT.
'There is still no overall vision for the town centre'
There is a sense of frustration among residents of Woden who felt they had been left behind.
Dr Stewart said there was a lack of vision for the future of the town centre and residents had felt Woden had been neglected.
"Periodically people discover that Woden is not in good shape," she said.
"A few things have changed in a positive direction but not enough and despite the master plan there is still no overall vision for the town centre or indeed the surrounding area."
A fight long fought by the Woden Valley Community Council was a lack of community facilities in the town centre. There is no community centre or arts facility. Dr Stewart holds onto the library, which she says is her favourite part of the town centre.
"The library is a precious, precious resource and is bravely soldiering on despite the COVID-19 changes," Dr Stewart said.
For Dr Stewart, the key to improving the town centre was employment.
"The government hasn't appeared to have grasped that it's employment that keeps things ticking over in town centres, not residents," she said.
"We have lost a lot of employment from the town centre and without those public servants working there the businesses around suffer.
"Just bringing more and more apartments in there will not bring the place to life, it needs employment."
In contrast, Mr Domazet said he believed the best way to improve the town centre was to add residents.
"[Residents] assist the viability of improved retail and amenity offerings and more voters means more attention as well," Mr Domazet said.
"I think that the risk of it becoming a dormitory town centre where people live there but work elsewhere is a secondary issue. With an improved town centre with an increased resident population it will become a more attractive place for offices.
"There are still many opportunities for offices to be developed in the Woden Town Centre so there is no danger of running out of land."
There are many apartments in the pipeline in the Woden town centre.
Doma has more apartments and an office block in the works. The developer purchased a former car park site on Melrose Drive for 480 apartments. This would have four buildings. There would be two buildings of 12 and 20 storeys with about 200 apartments in each and an office building. The fourth building would contain affordable and community housing apartments with 10 public housing properties.
Geocon and Zapari's joint venture, Grand Central Towers, will have two towers of 26 and 18 storeys and about 430 apartments. Geocon has also received approval for a 24-storey, 800-unit complex on the former site of the Woden Tradies Club.
Amalgamated Property Group has 156 apartments under construction.
As well, Zapari has started to consult the community on a high-rise on the corner of Brewer and Corinna Street that could have more than 600 apartments.