A prominent block on the Belconnen waterfront is on the market for the third time, after previous attempts to sell the site were thwarted due to a lack of suitable interest.
The former water police site is within walking distance of Westfield and the Belconnen Arts Centre. It was last due to go under the hammer in 2018, but was withdrawn at the last minute as development applications were deemed inappropriate.
The Suburban Land Agency is now seeking submissions for the development of the block, alongside the Belconnen circus site, following community consultation.
The subsequent design brief is for a restaurant or cafe venue on the waterfront, with allowances for up to 500 dwellings, including 50 affordable and 25 public housing dwellings, on the circus site.
Feedback from the community during the consultation phase was that streets in the area were currently unwelcoming, there was a lack of greenery, public spaces were uninviting and it was dominated by the shopping mall.
Belconnen residents who took part in the consultation said they hoped the waterfront's development would reactivate the area through the provision of community spaces, restaurants and shared facilities.
Belconnen Community Council Chair Glen Hyde said he hoped there'd be a suitable proposition third time round.
Mr Hyde said the waterfront land could not support another huge residential development, nor was their the infrastructure to connect services to another big apartment block in Belconnen.
"If we're the jewel in Canberra's crown, the lake is the centrepiece in our crown," he said.
Mr Hyde said that the government had looked at different ways to prepare the area for sale with some very targeted conditions around it had come as a relief.
"The next steps are going to be very, very crucial for that part of the town centre," he said.
Mr Hyde said the Council would like to see a restaurant at water level, meeting rooms or function rooms above and then a suitable business on the next floor.
The site has been empty since the facility first built there in the mid-1970s to house the water police, and then purchased by Make Hack Void for use as a community hackerspace, was demolished in early 2017.
Mr Hyde said if it fell to the same fate as other Canberra sites which had failed to sell due to a lack of appropriate commercial interest, it should be turned into a recreational space for public use.
"It's very valuable land and I understand that the government wants to capitalise on the value of that financially, but if it's not going to meet community expectation then let's return it to full community use," Mr Hyde said.
The Suburban Land Agency has flagged the release of a third site for development in Belconnen, the Lathlain Street Precinct, though that is likely to be several years away.
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