Four Gungahlin town blocks sold for a combined $22 million on Wednesday with two bidders going halves in the available land.
The Canberra Business and Technology College paid $4.3 million and $5.1 million for property it intends to develop into an education facility, while plans for the remaining sites are relatively unknown.
During an at-capacity auction this week, Core Developments took ownership of two hotly contested blocks, after director Ryan Cappello engaged in a fairly fierce bidding war.
The developers paid a cool $6.85 million for the biggest site to go under the hammer on the day and more than $5.1 million for an adjacent block. The new owner of the 10,510 square metre and 6,822 square metre sites now owns a sizeable chunk of a vacant block within walking distance of the light rail.
Mr Cappello said it was too early to say what would be developed for the blocks, confirming a mix of commercial and residential projects.
"We're going to supply what the market needs, it could be a combination of townhouses, a little medium-density and it could be a high-rise," he said. "It's early stages."
Currently providing training at four sites across Canberra, the vocational training college will look to consolidate teaching at one large campus. Technology College operators Akhilesh Arora and Rakesh Bhutani outbid developers for the ACT government owned land.
Creating a ripple in the ACT Greens and Labor coalition, the property was two of four big blocks in Gungahlin which has been the source of some disagreement between the parties.
In a proposal supported by the ACT Liberals, the Greens lent its support to halting the land sale until a planning review had been undertaken, which Labor then opposed.
Mr Arora said as the only education institute in Canberra's far north, the college would be a great benefit to Gungahlin.
"We're also hoping to be the first higher-education institute offering cyber security, subject to government approval," Mr Arora said.
The private college currently offers courses in hospitality and in business management at its sites in the city, Belconnen and an existing site in Gungahlin.
The development of the two blocks, which are 2705 square metres and 4836 square metres respectively, was expected to provide an opportunity to expand into the cyber security space.
With a high intake of international students, Mr Arora said the college survived the pandemic thanks to the provision of a pathway to allow study in regional areas.
He said international students had moved to Canberra from Melbourne and Sydney when Covid concessions were made to allow them to extend their stay in regional areas.
"A lot of colleges got closed in the big cities and we were one of the few who survived," he said.
The college aims to have the facility built and operational by 2024.
Gungahlin Community Council president Peter Elford said the expectation was all four blocks would become residential projects and would provide development opportunities.
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