The territory government is in discussions with its federal counterpart to buy the former CSIRO Ginninderra Experiment Station, after resurfacing the topic in planning reports released this week.
Both CSIRO and the ACT government confirmed discussions were under way, though a sale had not yet been made, following inclusion of the site in the draft Belconnen District Strategy.
The ACT wants to use the 701 hectares of land for residential development, to supplement a potential need for an additional 20,800 dwellings in Belconnen by 2063.
A statement from CSIRO said it was undertaking "a range of activities and due diligence studies in preparation for the future sale of its Ginninderra site".
"We are liaising regularly with relevant Commonwealth and territory government departments regarding the approvals and agreements which would be required to divest the site, and are committed to carefully working through all these complex elements," the statement said.
"Until these discussions to prepare for divestment are complete, we will not be able to progress with selling the site."
The agency envisions the site will become an example of "how to create a sustainable urban community with the help of innovative science and technology".
The ACT government remained tight-lipped on the issue, confirming it was in discussions, but not saying much more.
"The government has raised the matter with the new Commonwealth government. Discussions are ongoing," a spokesperson said.
They would not comment on how many dwellings could be developed on the land, saying: "That would depend on future detailed design and planning."
The site was rezoned by the National Capital Authority to allow for residential development in 2016.
In May, then-Liberal senator Zed Seselja promised a re-elected Coalition government would sell off one-third of the 701-hectare site for housing to the private sector, locking out the ACT government from the process.
The issue resurfaced in the release of the draft Belconnen District Strategy on Tuesday, which identified the site for urban development.
The strategy details any site planning for the land must be done in collaboration with CSIRO to preserve sensitive areas and demonstrate "the highest standard of sustainable urban development".
Traditional custodians must also be consulted to make sure any areas of significance were preserved.
The plan includes 10 other principles for developing the site, including: protecting threatened woodland; utilising existing CSIRO features; and providing road access from the Barton Highway at Curran Drive for a safe pedestrian connection to Gold Creek.
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