We've put together some information about Kingston Arts Precinct based on questions we've been asked. If you've got a question that's not answered below, or you'd like to find out more, send us an email.
We will add to this section as the project progresses and more decisions are made.
Where is the Kingston Arts Precinct located? And how big is the development?
- The Kingston Arts Precinct development is located off Eastlake Parade bound by Giles Street and Wentworth Avenue. It includes the Fitters Workshop, Former Transport Depot, and the Powerhouse (Canberra Glassworks).
- The precinct is the final stage of development for the Kingston Foreshore and will complement the heritage history of the existing buildings. It includes the Arts Hub which will be owned by the ACT Government and private mixed-use development;
- As this stage, the arts facilities are also being referred to as Kingston Arts Precinct. The intention is to rename the arts components of the precinct at some point in the future. The development proposal will need to comply with ACT Government Planning requirements and will also be reviewed by the National Capital Design Review Panel.
- The proposed development master plan and tender submission drawings are available on Geocon’s website.
What were the recent negotiations about? What decisions did the ACT Government make?
- The negotiations included drafting obligations for the successful tenderer and commitments for Geocon and the ACT Government with respect to the project delivery including:
- Design development and value management process,
- Community engagement plan; and
- Advertising and Marketing Principles.
- The ACT Government awarded the ‘successful tender’ status to Geocon Group Pty Ltd.
How much will the Kingston Arts Precinct cost?
- The ACT Government has approved a budget of up to $78 million for the Kingston Arts Precinct development works as part of the urban renewal delivery of Kingston Foreshore.
- This includes around $50 million towards purpose-built arts facilities for resident arts organisations and accommodation for visiting artists.
When will it be finished?
- Geocon is currently seeking statutory approvals for the project which will take approximately two years. After that, construction of the Arts Precinct and the public carpark is expected to be complete by mid-2023.
- The remaining private mixed-use development is expected to be complete by June 2026.
Who is managing the Kingston Arts Precinct Project?
- The Kingston Arts Precinct is a Suburban Land Agency Project with artsACT as a key project partner.
- The Suburban Land Agency will manage the land sale and all associated agreements with Geocon.
- artsACT provides policy direction for the arts facilities and their management and is the liaison point for the arts sector. This includes working closely with resident organisations on the design development of the arts facilitates.
Will there be assistance with relocation costs for the resident arts organisations?
- artsACT understand that resident arts organisations will likely need assistance to relocate and transition into the Kingston Arts Precinct.
- The budget allocation for this will be determined closer to 2023, when arts organisations are due to move into the Kingston Arts Precinct.
- artsACT does not expect resident organisations to fund their entire relocation however there may be some costs for each organisation.
- Further discussions will be held with resident arts organisations closer to the relocation date to understand the potential transition arrangements for each organisation.
Why would you consider Geocon for this project considering the type of advertising they have been using around Canberra?
- Geocon is the successful tenderer for the Kingston Art Precinct Development. Through the tender process the ACT Government sought a response for an integrated development with a unique and contemporary design for an arts precinct and land development requirements.
- The ACT Government recognises that some marketing materials used by Geocon for their own projects have caused some concerns in the community.
- The ACT Government and Geocon have agreed to marketing principles that ensure the Kingston Arts Precinct is promoted and represented in line with values set out in the ACT Public Service Code of Conduct (ACT) 2012.
- The marketing principles can be found on the Suburban Land Agency's website.
- The ACT Government is also exploring options to improve standards around large outdoor advertisements, including the opportunity within the development application process to exert greater control over signs or site fencing and associated advertising for building sites.
Can the arts sector provide input to the design?
- Geocon is running an engagement process with all interested parties which includes the arts sector, this is detailed on their website.
- artsACT is interested in talking to any member of the arts community interested in future use or any aspect of the project throughout development. You can contact artsACT via email.
Will parking in the area be affected during construction?
- Current parking arrangements will not be affected during the statutory approval period which is anticipated to take up to two years.
- Geocon will consider and plan for temporary parking to be put in place prior to the construction phase. Construction is estimated to start in 2021.
- Geocon will also engage with existing businesses on the site to discuss their ongoing parking requirements and how they can be best managed. This will also be agreed before construction starts.
Will parking be free? What will parking be like for artists, staff and volunteers of organisations?
- There will be 21 parking spaces for the resident organisations.
- Other parking spaces in the precinct will be subject to fee arrangements.
- artsACT will ensure an ongoing dialogue and process regarding parking for resident organisations and we will develop a strategy for parking that addresses the needs of the arts precinct.
Management and Governance
Who will manage the Kingston Arts Precinct when it’s finished?
- When construction is complete, artsACT will manage the Kingston Arts Precinct operations for the first five years.
- artsACT will work with stakeholders throughout the development period on the long-term management options for the precinct.
- The ACT Government will own and manage repairs and maintenance for ACT Government assets in the precinct, which will include arts facilities, artist accommodation, the open space for future activation and events, and the public car park. This is in line with current arrangements for ACT Government arts facilities.
Will the resident organisations retain their own identity?
- Yes, the Kingston Arts Precinct resident organisations will continue as independent organisations which means they will keep their own directors, management and governance structure.
Programming and Precinct use
Is there space for art forms other than visual arts?
- There will be outdoor event space suitable for live performances, venues such as the Fitters’ Workshop and Former Transport Depot will also remain available for use.
- There are no immediate plans for purpose built indoor live performance venues.
- Future programming of the precinct will be developed over the coming years and artsACT is interested to know how you might like to use the spaces.
What opportunities exist for artists and organisations outside of the tenants?
- There are several spaces within the Precinct that are available or will become available as the project progresses. It is anticipated that these spaces will be occupied by artists associated with resident organisations and some artists outside of those organisations.
- If artists and organisations are interested in space within the Precinct, they should contact artsACT who will maintain a register.
What are you doing to ensure affordability of the facilities for artists?
- Rent for the Kingston Arts Precinct head licence will be a peppercorn arrangement consistent with other existing arrangements for arts facilities.
- Each organisation will be responsible for paying a sub-licence fee which will cover operational costs including utilities, security, cleaning etc. Other elements of service provided by the Precinct Manager on a fee for service basis to be negotiated with organisations.
- The rates for each of the spaces that will be available directly to artists for hire have not yet been set, however affordability of spaces is a key consideration.
Is there ongoing program funding to support Kingston Arts Precinct?
- There will be ongoing funding for the Kingston Arts Precinct including for programming and management. This funding will be administered by artsACT in the first five years as the precinct manager.
Will there be spaces available for hire including studios?
- There will be a range of spaces available for public hire including the outdoor event space, the Former Transport Depot, Fitters’ Workshop and several meeting rooms.
- Artist studios will be available through some of the resident arts organisations under their administration.
- The final configuration of spaces is being determined through the design development process currently underway.
- artsACT will make the final determination of each of the spaces available for the public and artists information when it has been determined.
- Whilst the arts precinct will be primarily for arts use, there may be some non-arts activities within the precinct from time to time. The management of these type of activities is yet to be determined.
Will there be a balance between public access and private space for Kingston Arts Precinct based artists and arts workers?
- artsACT are working closely with resident arts organisations to ensure that the spaces being designed are fit for purpose and strike a balance between publicly accessible spaces and spaces where artists can work privately.
Existing Arts Facilities
How will you ensure the rest of the arts sector continues to be supported?
- New funding will be allocated for the management and programming of the Kingston Arts Precinct, this will not effect existing artsACT funding.
- artsACT will continue to support individual artists and groups through the Arts Activities Funding and Programs funding categories.
- artsACT will continue to support ACT Arts Facilities and will continue to engage with the management bodies of these facilities throughout the project.
What is happening to vacated premises when organisations move to Kingston Arts Precinct?
- The ACT Government is planning for the future of the facilities that will be vacated by Kingston Arts Precinct resident arts organisation.
- Each facility currently has different arrangements in place, more information will be provided when arrangements are finalised.
What will happen to existing buildings in the precinct?
- Most existing buildings within the Kingston Arts Precinct will remain including the Former Transport Depot, Fitters’ Workshop and the Canberra Glassworks.
- The future of the Chapel (1948 Switch Room) is still being considered. The Heritage Council will have the opportunity to consider this as part of the statutory approval processes required of Geocon.
- Principally, the 1948 Switch Room cannot be demolished until the Heritage Council has endorsed the design of Geocon’s proposed designs.
- The Switch room will continue to be used as artist accommodation until new accommodation is built as part of the precinct or alternative accommodation is agreed on.
What will the precinct look like? Which arts organisations will move there?
- Geocon will discuss their vision for this vibrant destination with key stakeholders and the community through their architects, Fender Katsalidis and landscape architects, Oculus.
- Fender Katsalidis, the architects for the Kingston Arts Precinct, are known for creating inspirational spaces including the New Acton Precinct here in Canberra and the Mona museum in Tasmania.
- The site plans will capture the rich history of the Kingston Foreshore area, dating back to 1913, while transforming it into a fully integrated precinct to include workshop and gallery spaces, offices for arts groups, visiting artist accommodation, landscaped plazas for outdoor entertainment and events, and at least 500 public car spaces for use on weekdays and 800 for weekends.
Have arts organisations been involved in the development so far?
- artsACT worked closely with resident arts organisations throughout the negotiation period including Craft ACT, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Megalo Print Studio + Gallery, Canberra Glassworks, M16, PhotoAccess and ArtSound.
- The ACT Government and all Resident Organisations have signed a process agreement covering a range of issues from the constraints of the contract, communication and process, issues to be resolved and the vision for the Precinct.
What measures are being taken to ensure the Precinct is physically accessible?
- Construction will comply with all current accessibility codes including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), the Building Code of Australia, and relevant Australian Standards.
- Specific requirements within the resident arts organisations are also being considered through the design development stage.
- Arrangements for accessible parking and drop off zones close to entrances are being considered through design development.
Will there be public art?
- The final design of the public realm is still being developed.
How will you ensure longevity of the precinct through the design? Is it going to be too purpose built and therefore not usable by potential future resident organisations?
- Whilst each resident arts organisation space will be purpose built according to their requirements, it is not expected that this would exclude any future use.
Visit the Suburban Land Agency website for information on:
- Project timelines
- Marketing principles
- Previous Section 49 master plan
Visit the Kingston Arts Precinct website for information on:
- Community engagement
- Project progress