Commercial property owners believe light rail will benefit Canberra

Colliers International surveys owners about the introduction of ACT Light Rail.

Whilst divided on the technology, project timing and future routes, commercial property owners along Northbourne Avenue corridor generally believe the introduction of light rail will ultimately benefit Canberra, according to Colliers International Research.

Colliers International’s ACT Light Rail Survey, revealed that commercial property owners believe the establishment of this major infrastructure project is likely to provide a significant economic boost to local business, employment and encourage further investment into the CBD and ACT region from interstate and offshore groups.

Matthew Winter, Manager at Colliers International said, “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.

Timing of the project has been heavily debated, with varying options on when to introduce the next stages and which town centres should be priorities.

“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.

Best timing image

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

Almost half the owners surveyed felt the light rail would have little to no impact on traffic congestion, 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.

Little to no impact

Furthermore, owners showed concern with the lack of information available about transit times and fares, which may cause passengers to commute by car, finding it a cheaper and more direct option, despite traffic congestion.

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

“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 International report revealed that following the announcement of Stage 1 of the project, 50 percent of property owners along Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road corridor investigated developing or selling their building for residential purposes. 

“Given the strategic land release programme of the ACT Government along Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road, many owners noted the likely demand from developers for these opportunities and had investigated possible options,” said Matthew.

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