Geocon-led group wins tender to develop Kingston Arts Precinct

8 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 he tender, but the agency would not release any 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.

He provided no further details on the bid.

According to a masterplan for the site, it will include an apartment building with about 150 units, a parking building with space for about 480 cars, retail and commercial development and office space along with the arts spaces. The government recently changed the territory plan to also allow a hotel and childcare centre.

Mr Dawes said the government would work with the GEOCON consortium and the arts community to finalise the design.

The site is largely open space at the moment, with surface carparking, although it also includes a number of heritage buildings which Mr Dawes said would be protected – the former Power House, now housing the glassworks, the Fitters’ Workshop, and the former Transport Depot, now housing the Old Bus Depot Markets.

The former 1948 Switch Room, which has been used by the glassworks 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 Managing Director Nick Georgalis said the precinct would be the “jewel in the crown” of the Kingston Foreshore and would create “a cultural space of international renown and a beacon for artistic endeavour across the world”, as the Museum of Old and New Art had done for Hobart.

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