TARGETED investment is required to restore Canberra’s much-loved Sydney and Melbourne buildings to their historic place in Canberra’s heart, says the Property Council of Australia’s ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter.
“Much of the area around the Sydney and Melbourne buildings is in a depressingly dilapidated state,” Catherine said.
“As Canberrans engage in a conversation about the future of our CBD, we must look at how these buildings – which are effectively the gateway to our city centre – can be restored and reactivated.”
“The Property Council of Australia and Canberra CBD Limited have recently released a new discussion paper, Transforming Canberra’s City Centre, to explore how to create new landmark addresses, attract more residents into the CBD and rejuvenate the city’s tired existing buildings.
“Property Council members have been concerned about the state of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings for many years.
“In 2007 we convened a public forum, with a report submitted to government which recommended the development of a strategic design framework and sensitive redevelopment of the area.
“Nearly a decade on, we are yet to see any meaningful action taken to restore these landmarks.
“An idea that has received considerable attention and support in recent years would see the internal courtyard areas behind the Sydney and Melbourne buildings upgraded from their current use as rubbish dumps.
“Such redevelopment would support new cafes, restaurants and spaces for art exhibitions and other cultural activities, similar to the Melbourne laneways concept. The success of Loading Zone in Odgers Lane tells us that Canberrans are willing to embrace laneway culture.
“We need a champion for the city centre and for the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, and a partnership between the ACT Government, business and the community to realise the transformation and renewal of these important buildings, which form the gateway to our city.
“Inspired by the best architecture of the Italian Renaissance, the Sydney and Melbourne buildings enjoyed an auspicious start to life. They need to support of all Canberrans to avoid a shameful end,” Ms Carter concluded.