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City council firm on Central Market Arcade cost, despite councillor suspicions

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An Adelaide City councillor has demanded that the council release the full cost of the Central Market Arcade redevelopment, despite it asserting that its own budgeted ratepayer-funded contribution to the project is $28 million.

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The council last month revealed its financial share of a $400 million redevelopment of the Central Market Arcade, in partnership with developers ICD Property and Nanshan Singapore.

North ward councillor Phil Martin disputed that figure, telling InDaily at the time “I am gagged, but I can tell you $28 million dollars isn’t correct”.

Documents released from confidence show the council voted in November to approve spending $27.74 million (plus GST) to deliver the project, with an additional $1.39 million approved as contingency funding.

InDaily also previously reported that Martin and area councillor Anne Moran were absent from the final vote to approve the project.

Martin will at Tuesday night’s council meeting demand in a motion on notice that Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor release by the end of next week the costs “which may not have been disclosed” for the Central Market Arcade redevelopment.

He will also question Verschoor on whether the $28 million costing is “the total value of all contributions and likely contributions”, or whether the Central Market redevelopment could cost ratepayers more.

Martin told InDaily this morning the council owed it to ratepayers and the people with whom it does business to be “absolutely transparent” in its dealings.

“It’s so important to the City’s reputation,” he said.

Martin said he did not participate on the vote to approve the redevelopment because he was “very concerned” about the impacts of the project.

“I am of the view the substantial height of the main tower and the addition of two other towers in the plan will adversely impact on the amenity of the precinct.

“What we… know of the layout seems incompatible with the Central Market and then I’m worried the lengthy construction period could put at risk the viability of businesses in the Central Market and even Gouger Street traders, including Chinatown.

“I have no further comment, other than I look forward to what I know will be full and frank responses from Lord Mayor Verschoor.”

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor confirmed to InDaily this morning that the council approved spending $28 million to cover its contribution to the arcade redevelopment.

“It was in confidence but it was released publicly afterwards,” she said.

“That information is on our website.”

Verschoor said the council did not count the $1.39 million in contingency funding as part of the publicised $28 million figure as that was “in addition to the $27.74 (million) to make sure that we have contingency”.

She said she was unsure why Martin was claiming that the $28 million figure was incorrect, adding that the project would be an important “city-shaping” building that the council was “still really committed to”.

“He (Martin) has the same information as the rest of us,” she said.

Deputy Lord Mayor Alexander Hyde also stated the $28 million touted by the council was the “full amount of our contribution and that is public knowledge”.

“Councillor Martin chose to not be present at the council meeting where we discussed and voted on this matter,” he said.

“He’s effectively abrogated his responsibility to the city on the arcade redevelopment by choosing to leave when the meeting begun.”

The project, once completed, will feature one of Adelaide’s tallest buildings, standing just short of the 135m-tall, 37-storey Adelaidean development under construction on Frome Street and the 39-storey hotel development approved fro the corner of King William and Currie streets.

It will include retail and dining spaces, a hotel, car parking and residential apartments.

All up, the council will own 6000-square metres, including ground floor retail space, a first-storey supermarket and 260 public car parks on levels two and three of the building.

The council hopes to begin demolition of the existing Central Market Arcade in May 2021 – a delay from the original target of September 2020, which the council says was to allow the 61 traders currently operating in the arcade the opportunity to earn over the busy Christmas trading period.

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