Adelaide City Council plans to gift site for boutique hotel

Amy Horsfield By Amy Horsfield
21 January 2019 | Updated 21 January 2019

Australia: Adelaide City Council will consider offering the State Government a section of the vacant old Le Cornu site as an alternative location for the Adelaide Oval Hotel.

Area councillor Anne Moran said she has a motion on notice asking that the Adelaide City Council request a meeting with the State Government and Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority to discuss building the proposed hotel on the former Le Cornu site at 88 O'Connell Street.

But planning minister Stephan Knoll said Moran's proposal would: "Defeat the whole purpose of the development".

Adelaide Oval management announced plans for a 128-room boutique hotel in November, with Premier Steven Marshall at the time announcing the Government would provide a loan of up to $42 million AUD (£23,317,390) at commercial rates to fund the project.

Plans show the hotel will be integrated into the Oval's eastern façade and will be open by August next year.

Moran said: "We could sell it to the Government at the same rate at what we bought it for, we could lease it at below commercial rates, or we could gift it to them but still generate revenue from it from income sharing. We are sitting here with this prime piece of real estate and so all we would be doing is offering them the opportunity to take advantage of that and get them to build the hotel on private land rather than sacrificing the park lands. Most of the people coming from interstate to use the hotel would be coming for conferences, so the last thing they want to be hearing is AC/DC music blasting at night. Having it in North Adelaide would help activate the area and create interest in the Le Cornu site, because I just think there is not going to be a lot of takers in the site and we need to have more of an incentive for developers to build there."

The council announced in 2017 that it had bought the former Le Cornu site for $34 million AUD (£18,864,288) to end years of inactivity on the prominent site.

The council launched a worldwide Expressions of Interest process in September last year to secure a mixed-use development proposal for the site. 

The Expressions of Interest process closed in November, with the outcome of that process yet to be released by the council.

Area councillor Arman Abrahimzadeh said: "We have had this Expressions of Interest process open for a while and it has now closed so if we start talking about moving this project to 88 O'Connell Street it could have implications on how that then pans out. This could be seen as a detour and it could deter developers from investing in the area."

However, Stephen Knoll said: "The State Government is committed to the Adelaide Oval Hotel development. Moving the hotel from Adelaide Oval to the old Le Cornu site defeats the whole purpose of the development. The hotel has received developer approval after significant work and review with the Office for Design and Architect SA, which will ensure the design will not impact one blade of grass on our treasured park lands."

An Adelaide Oval SMA spokesperson added: "Had this offer been taken up after it was made seven weeks ago, Councillor Moran would understand that one of the key reasons for the proposal is to maintain Adelaide Oval's position as an internationally recognised stadium, and, critically, one that is able to continue competing for events on a global scale."

Knoll said the Government would continue to work with the council and other stakeholders in the lead up to the hotel build.

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