Canberra's gateway is in the midst of a dramatic transition.
The main artery from the northern suburbs to the city centre, Northbourne Avenue, was once home to scores of public housing flats but will soon host high-rise buildings, boasting new life for the boulevard.
Developments under way at Dickson and Lyneham were among the first to signal at turning point for Northbourne Avenue, while a key site in Turner remains vacant with the government looking to alternatives to appeal to developers.
The ACT government's plan to revitalise the entryway to the city began in 2016, with the sale of several former public housing blocks. To date, $182 million worth of land has been sold to developers bringing apartments, offices and business space to the area.
Part of the strategy to create a "world-class boulevard" was to raise height limits along the corridor to help pave the way for a vision of 37,000 new dwellings in decades to come.
The latest site to be taken off the market was home to the former Macarthur House, at the corner of Wakefield Avenue.
Managing director Johnny Roso said the development application would be lodged mid-year for a mixed-use precinct incorporating 420 apartments and a 12,000 square-metre office building.
An "urban village" will be created in precinct with the buildings on the perimetre.
"It will be a true pedestrian destination linking the wider inner north community," Mr Roso said.
He didn't rule out buying another Northbourne site.
"I personally have a real connection to the corridor as it is where I grew up and I'm passionate to see the area continue to develop into a vibrant place for the Canberra community," Mr Roso said.
Development applications have been lodged to construct up to 750 apartments on two sections of the site.
The entire precinct stretches from Morphett St to Karuah St and was formerly home to the Dickson Towers, Karuah public housing blocks and the tourist information centre.
The first stage of the precinct, Mulberry, is due for completion at the end of the year. The $92 million stage includes 400 apartments across six buildings. Three fronting Northbourne Avenue will be 25 metres tall and those fronting Dooring Street will be 19 metres tall.
Under a heritage deal, Art Group are required to maintain parts of the former public housing.
Art Group development manager Gabe Szvik said they worked with heritage architects to "intertwine old and new".
"New buildings will meet the city's growing need for densification while honouring the original modernist ideas," he said.
"Soho will re-imagine the gateway boulevard precinct for the 21st century."
Mr Szvik said the project, alongside its Dickson precinct, would include residential, commercial and community space bringing "much-needed diversity" to the inner-north.
JW Land's Nick Babic said Northbourne's potential as a thriving corridor through Canberra would take years to be realised, but proximity to the city, universities and the tram made it more desirable to residents and developers.
JW Land is preparing to submit a development application for 600 apartments on the site of a former public housing site in Braddon.
Mr Babic said the mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments would include 90 affordable housing units and commercial space.
"That is mainly to bolster the area as a bookend to Braddon," he said.
Mr Babic said the projects would help realise the government's long-term vision for the area, encouraging people to move beyond Lonsdale St.
The first stage of JW Land's development at the former Lyneham public housing flats is complete, the precinct dubbed 'Embark' has 172 units.
Plans were recently lodged for the $97 million final stage of that project with two nine-storey buildings with 415 apartments across them.
In Dickson, the future vision is a step closer. Construction on Doma Group's second stage of the DKSN development at the former Dickson Motor Registry has been delayed to be finished in August 2022, rather than the end of this year.
However, the first stage of the project, which is now home to 2000 ACT government workers and includes 122 apartments, was finished last year.
Senior development manager David Jameson said Dickson was Canberra's "second Braddon" and would gentrify over time.
"The city is within reach .. you look at the transformation of Braddon, what's happened in that area its bound to gentrify the further you get out in the city," he said.
This is just the start of what's to come, Mr Jameson said.
"So you'll find other parts of Dickson will start to gentrify over time," he said. "Woolley Street is tired, it's screaming out for something."
Plans for another key site, Dame Pattie Menzies House, were lodged last month. Merrylin Lindland Pty Ltd has proposed a $41 million development with 163 units.
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