Commercial property owners believe light rail will benefit Canberra

Commercial property owners believe light rail will benefit Canberra
Commercial property owners believe light rail will benefit Canberra

The light rail project planned for Canberra will ultimately benefit the city, according to a survey of commercial property owners by Colliers International Research.

Whilst divided on the technology, project timing and future routes, commercial property owners along the Northbourne Avenue corridor are generally positive about the light rail project, the survey noted.

The Colliers International’s ACT Light Rail Survey revealed that commercial property owners believe it will likely provide an economic boost to local business, employment and encourage further investment into the CBD and ACT region from interstate and offshore groups.

“Whilst there was strong consensus amongst owners of the benefits, they noted concerns about the long-term viability of the project given that newer technologies may supersede light rail once construction of the entire network is completed,” said Matthew Winter, manager at Colliers International. 

Valuation firm Herron Todd White had noted earlier this year that the light rail project may have an effect on residential property prices in suburbs serviced by the transport system.

The project’s timing was heavily debated, with varying options on when to introduce the next stages and which town centres should be prioritised.

“Despite not necessarily supporting the proposed technology, half the owners surveyed said now is the right time for light rail to be implemented and indicated the project would serve as a catalyst to reinvigorate tired gateways.

“Owners indicated the light rail network should expand from CBD to Woden next (33 percent) and Canberra Airport (30 percent),” said Matthew.

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 Commercial property owners believe light rail will benefit Canberra

Almost half the owners surveyed felt the light rail would have little to no impact on traffic congestion, though it was a fundamental objective of the infrastructure project.

They believe Canberrans will use light rail to commute to and from work, assuming the stops were near office locations and viable Park-and-Ride solutions are provided by the ACT government.

In fact, owners were concerned with the lack in clarity about transit times and fares, which could make passengers commute by car, finding it a cheaper and more direct option, despite traffic congestion.

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Commercial property owners believe light rail will benefit Canberra

“Overwhelmingly, owners believe light rail will improve the value of their property,” said Matthew.

“This seems to support the notion that further amenity and infrastructure along the corridor will have a positive benefit for owners through improved tenant retention, increased accessibility, and provide a solution to the current parking shortage, particularly in areas such as Braddon.”

The Colliers report revealed that after the announcement of Stage 1 of the project, 50 percent of property owners along Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road corridor looked at developing or selling their building for residential purposes. 

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