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Tower complex approved for old Le Cornu site

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The State Commission Assessment Panel has approved plans to transform a notorious North Adelaide block vacant for 30 years into a $250 million three-tower development, with construction expected to begin next year.

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The state’s planning body yesterday granted development partners Commercial & General and the Adelaide City Council planning approval.

The mixed-use development – to be called “Eighty-Eight O’Connell” – will end 30 years of vacancy at the 7500 square-metre site, following several failed development attempts.

Commercial & General executive chair Jamie McClurg said in a statement this morning that the approval represented a “watershed moment” for North Adelaide and reinforced Adelaide’s status as a “world class city”.

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor described the approval as a “significant milestone”.

The development, designed by architect Woods Bagot, includes two 13-storey towers and one 15-storey tower accommodating retail and commercial space, as well as residential apartments.

It would also include almost 400 off-street car parks over three basement levels and some public space.

The SCAP approved the development with several conditions, including that Commercial & General provide detailed landscaping and stormwater management plans and that it refines the design of the podium.

Image: Commercial & General/Adelaide City Council

The approval follows opposition from some North Adelaide residents, who argued the development’s height and size would look out of place in the neighbourhood.

The Government Architect also expressed concerns about the risk of the apartment towers blocking sunlight from nearby properties.

But in a report to the panel, state government planner Brett Miller said the development was “well designed” and could extend beyond North Adelaide’s eight-storey height limit because it was located on a “catalyst site”.

Construction on the main development is expected to start in the second quarter of next year, with completion currently scheduled for the end of 2024.

It is estimated that 430 jobs would be supported during construction, with up to 500 roles created once the build is complete.

Commercial & General this morning released new images showing the proposed interiors of the residential apartments.

The developer said the 160 apartments and four penthouses would feature views of the ocean, city and Adelaide Hills.

Image: Commercial & General

Image: Commercial & General

The three towers will be connected by a “multi-functional podium” and include access to indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a gym, spa and sauna.

The development will also house cafés, restaurants, health and beauty services, and fashion and homewares shops, which will be accessible to both residents and the broader public.

Commercial tenancies are expected to attract medical consultants.

An outdoor terrace will be accessible to the public and be used to host community events.

McClurg said there had been “strong interest” in the development from residential and commercial markets over the past few weeks.

“We are being very deliberate in our approach with an absolute focus on quality at what is arguably Adelaide’s best location, and that is resonating,” he said.

“Adelaide is already ranked as one of the best places to live in the world and now technology is further enabling the emergence of secondary cities as great places to live and work while still being connected nationally and internationally.”

Verschoor said a “great deal of hard work over many years” had gone into the project.

“We are now much closer to seeing this iconic site being brought back to life,” she said.

“It comes at a time when we’ve just been named the most liveable city in Australia and Eighty Eight O’Connell will only serve to make North Adelaide an even more attractive destination, revitalising the O’Connell Street precinct.”

Commercial & General is currently constructing a display suite at the site, which will open in September.

The council bought the vacant land from developer Con Makris for $34 million in December 2017 with the help of a $10 million State Government grant.

In December, it confirmed it had selected Commercial & General as its development partner.

The council is expected to receive an undisclosed amount in commercial return.

Commercial & General is behind the new $345 million Calvary Adelaide Hospital on Angas Street, as well as the $1 billion redevelopment of the Football Park site in West Lakes.

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