The next stage of works are set to begin on Morris Property Group's One City Hill project in civic, following Commonwealth government approval.
The National Capital Authority has granted works approval for a $380 million commercial office complex on the prime site bounded by London Circuit, Edinburgh Avenue and Vernon Circle.
The offices will span two buildings, each six storeys tall.
On the ground level, a collection of retail and hospitality outlets will service the more than 34,000 square metres of office space above.
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Morris Property Group purchased the site in 2018 for a reported $85 million, with initial plans to construct up to 1200 apartments.
Excavation works on a three-level basement car park was already under way when the residential plans were abandoned in 2020 after the development failed to reach sales targets.
Morris Property Group director Barry Morris said the project suffered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Many of the sales there were related to the student population at the ANU and international visitors," he said.
"While completing the construction of the basement carpark and ground floor, we've now been able to secure the approval for the office complex and that work is now able to flow seamlessly on from the construction of the car park."
Mr Morris said the structural car park works are now complete. The car park will open by April 2022 and will continue to operate while the offices are constructed above.
The developer said the commercial buildings, designed by local architects Guida Moseley Brown, would aim for five-star NABERS energy ratings and would include rooftop solar panels, water-saving tapware and glazed windows.
The buildings have also been designed to "minimise disruption in current and future pandemics" with a large foyer, multiple entry points and three lifts.
"The ground floor plain is a lobby area of around 1200 square metres ... there's a lot of space to enable people to to enter and exit the buildings with plenty of social distancing," Mr Morris said.
It comes as a new survey by the Property Council of Australia found a modest rise in the ACT's office occupancy rates since the COVID-19 lockdown ended.
The November survey of office owners in the territory found occupancy rates rose from 7 to 17 per cent.
Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said the figures were heartening.
"Given the ACT's high vaccination rates, Canberra is poised to rebound, and with greater government support for the public service returning to the office, we hope the CBD and its businesses that are crying out for customers, can be revived," he said.
One City Hill is the first stage in Morris Property Group's master plan for the precinct.
The second stage, known as The Barracks, will comprise three office buildings and three levels of car parking below.
"Those buildings will be centered around the central plaza that opens up back onto Knowles Place and engages with the entry area of One City Hill," Mr Morris said.
Morris Property Group is also developing a $300 million, 414-unit residential precinct on the former site of the Stuart Flats public housing complex in Manuka and has submitted plans for a 76-apartment complex in Griffith.
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