Geocon-led group wins tender to develop Kingston Arts Precinct

10 February 2017

Canberra developer GEOCON has won the tender to develop the Kingston Arts Precinct, the last major block on the Kingston Foreshore.

The Land Development Agency announced that GEOCON, with ​partners Fender Katsalidis architects and Oculus, won the tender, but the agency did not release details of the winning bid or Geocon’s proposals.

Agency chief executive David Dawes said the partnership had “created an exciting concept for the precinct that would stand the test of time”.

It included “workshops, gallery spaces and offices for arts groups, visiting artist accommodation, landscaped plazas for outdoor entertainment and events, and generous parking provisions”, he said.

The tender documents required at least 500 publicly available carparks during the week and 800 on teh weekend, about 7000 square metres of arts facilities, a 4000 square metre outdoor arts-event space, and at least 20,000 square metres of non-residential facilities.

He provided no further details on the bid, saying negotiations with Geocon and consultation with the arts community would determine the final design. It could take up to six months to finalise contract negotiations, which would also determine how much of the land was sold and how much retained by government.

According to a masterplan for the site, it will include an apartment building with about 150 units, a parking building, retail and commercial development and office space. The government recently changed the territory plan to also allow a hotel and childcare centre.

The site is largely open space at the moment, with carparking, although includes heritage buildings which are to  be protected – the former Power House, now the glassworks, the Fitters’ Workshop, and the former Transport Depot, now the Old Bus Depot Markets.

The former 1948 Switch Room, which has been used by for visiting artists’ accommodation, is in line for possible demolition to make way for the new parking building.

The plan is to relocate Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Craft ACT, Photo Access, Art Sound FM, M16 and parts of the Canberra Potters’ Society to the site, where they will join the Canberra Glassworks and Megalo print studio.

Geocon beat out Doma for the precinct

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