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State Govt seeks an "identity" for the old RAH site

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The future of the old RAH site is still being considered by the State Government and developers, but the Government is making sure it's ready to get the maximum PR benefit from the key CBD project.

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The Government has gone out to tender to find a company to create a “site identity” for the old RAH project, and to deliver nearly a kilometre of promotional hoardings to surround the site while demolition and construction is underway.

Since October last year, the Government has been in negotiations with a consortium of South Australian property group Commercial & General and infrastructure company John Holland.

The Government says it is now considering a “revised” proposal from the consortium.

However, despite these uncertainties, Renewal SA has called a tender to develop a new “identity” for the seven-hectare site, to be in place from the closure date of the hospital in September.

The tender suggests the identity will be used to market the precinct, with the specifications requiring the project to “generate positive exposure for the oRAH redevelopment across traditional and digital platforms”.

The documents call for an “experienced agency” to develop a “place based site identity for oRAH to clearly distinguish the site from the current and new Royal Adelaide Hospital(s)”.

The developers aren’t mentioned in the project’s scope.

Indeed, the documents say the site identity should take into account the Government’s “Project Vision”.

The identity’s first application will be on hoardings around the site, which will be installed from September when demolition of the old RAH buildings begins (several heritage-listed buildings will be retained).

Renewal SA wants the hoardings to be a mix of “high impact and visually engaging panels”, which, in time, will be able to be moved to allow pathways into the site for public access.

The hoardings should be “creative” and might include viewing platforms so that people can view demolition and construction, greenwalls or “living” art, lighting displays, or “3D artworks and designs to encourage passersby to stop, look and touch”.

The tender document specifies that 150 metres of hoardings will need to be installed on September 6 – the day after the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is due to open – “subject to the existing hospital vacating by this time”.

A total of 800 metres of hoardings are “earmarked for the site”, with Renewal SA expecting installation to be completed by the end of November.

Liberal frontbencher David Pisoni questioned why the Government had gone out to tender on a marketing campaign, when that would seem to be the job of the site’s developer.

“The only reason is that the Government wants control,” he told InDaily. “It’s more interested in a political message in the lead-up to the election than a marketing plan for the developer to sell its product.

“Why would you (the developer) want someone else to run your marketing campaign? It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Urban Devolopment Minister Stephen Mullighan said that “after the last few months of negotiations John Holland and Commercial & General have made a revised offer which is currently being considered by the Government”.

“In the meantime we are getting on with calling for separate tenders for the temporary activation of the site, the demolition of some buildings and the hoardings to be installed during the demolition works,” he said.

“This is to enable works on this site to begin as soon as SA Health moves off the site.”

He said Renewal SA would manage the “activation” of the site while it is under development – a process that will take several years.

“As with other major infrastructure projects, hoardings and signage are used for public safety – in this case to separate the public from the demolition works.

“The hoardings will also be used to describe what is going on at the site and to encourage people to visit a location that will be opened up to the public.”

Mullighan wouldn’t reveal the likely cost of the marketing and hoardings tender, saying details should be kept confidential while the tender is underway to ensure the taxpayer gets the best deal.

The proposed development, as described by the government late last year, would feature more than 1000 apartments, a massive 5-star hotel, a research centre, an extra two hectares of space for the Adelaide Botanic Garden, with the possible addition of a contemporary art gallery. It has subsequently become clear that a recital hall was also in the original proposal.

Last month, Renewal SA revealed there had been discussions with the developer about raising building heights in the precinct.

 

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