The transformation of what is arguably Australia’s most premium development site - the old Royal Adelaide Hospital - will be managed by the State Government.

The Government is taking control of the redevelopment of the seven hectare site, ensuring full control over all elements of the project remain in public hands.

This follows an extensive negotiation process with a preferred developer for the site, whose final offer has ultimately been rejected by the Government.

Following on the success of projects at Bowden, Tonsley and Festival Plaza, the State Government will adopt the same approach for the prominent North Terrace site.

The decision paves the way to realise the Government’s vision for a mixed-use development including:

  • Returning more than two hectares (30 per cent) of the site to the Botanic Garden
  • Opening up 70 per cent of the site to the public
  • Developing educational and research facilities
  • Attracting commercial tenancies.

Today marks a major step in delivering the redevelopment with the State Government to immediately commence:

  • The procurement of a landscape architect to design the integration of the two hectares into the Botanic Garden
  • Opening a Registration Of Interest (ROI) for a new, minimum 5-star hotel
  • Opening Expressions Of Interest (EOI) for new uses for the retained heritage buildings
  • Launching an international search for a world-class team to design the proposed Adelaide Contemporary Gallery project.

The size and scale of planned residential development on the site will be substantially reduced. The private leaseholds, proposed by the private developers, have been removed and instead there will be a focus on student accommodation, aged care living and short term accommodation.

A residential component is important to maintaining day and night activity on the site, replacing the people lost by the relocation of the hospital, and helping to grow and sustain economic activity in the East End.

Work has already begun on the demolition and activation of the old hospital, including lighting installations on the heritage buildings along North Terrace.

Hoardings have also been erected around the East Wing building, which will be one of the first to be demolished when works start within weeks.

The Government is also introducing a range of measures to encourage the reuse of old buildings, particularly in the CBD.

A new Minister’s Specification will reduce the mandatory building performance standards for existing buildings from 79 under the National Construction Code to 24.

This performance based red tape reduction, which will not compromise safety standards, but will potentially save owners and investors hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrading costs.

The Government will use these new performance based standards in the adaptive re-use of buildings on the Old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, as a demonstration project.

Background

The Government was engaged in exclusive negotiations with the preferred proponent John Holland and Commercial & General. After careful consideration, their final offer was rejected because, on balance, it did not represent the best value for South Australian taxpayers.

The redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site is one of the most significant development opportunities currently available anywhere in Australia.

Thousands of construction and ongoing jobs will be created by the redevelopment which will also attract significant private investment.

The Government will consider the purchase of intellectual property from the preferred proponent, as agreed under exclusivity arrangements.

Under a Government-managed development, full control over each stage of the project will remain in public hands – the same model used for award-winning projects at Tonsley and Bowden.

The Government has overseen the remediation and redevelopment of the old Clipsal factory and Origin gas site at Bowden into a thriving precinct with the highest concentration of residential Green Star buildings anywhere in Australia.

The former Mitsubishi site at Tonsley has been transformed into an innovation precinct driving the jobs of the future in industries such as the emerging technology sector.

Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill

The old Royal Adelaide Hospital site is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the heart of one of the world’s most liveable cities, so it’s critical that the redevelopment delivers a first class result for all South Australians.

We don’t want to see this vital piece of our city fenced off for years to come and left to the market to dictate what happens and when.

By maintaining control over the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site we will ensure that the interests of South Australians are paramount rather than the interests of private developers.

Unlike the Liberals who have had six different positions on the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, we have been clear about our intentions from the start.

We are just weeks away from seeing the first stages of that vision being realised with the demolition of the old, defunct and contaminated buildings to make way for open space for the Botanic Garden.

Quotes attributable to Planning Minister John Rau

The Government has released a range of incentives to encourage the reactivation and adaptive re-use of our older building stock. These include; simplification of building standards, removing the need for planning consent for internal changes to CBD buildings, waiving of development application fees in the CBD and case management by DPTI.

These measures provide financial incentives as well as certainty and consistency for owners and investors across South Australia.

A case management system will assist applicants through the development approval process. This same case management approach has been applied very successfully to small bar licenses in the CBD.

This is in addition to the State Government and Council rates and taxes incentives.

Quotes attributable to Housing and Urban Development Minister Stephen Mullighan

When we called for expressions of interest for the old Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Government was clear about our vision for this unique development opportunity.

We asked developers to propose uses for the site which would continue to draw thousands of people to the east end of the city both day and night; that would open up this closed-off site to the public, and boost jobs and economic activity.

Last year we released the concepts for the site including handing back over 30 per cent of the site to the Botanic Gardens, retaining and re-using all heritage buildings on site, providing new facilities for research and commercial innovation activities, and residential accommodation to support both day and night-time activity.

We will continue with the delivery of these elements, and by managing the project directly we can also emulate our award-winning redevelopments at Bowden and Tonsley where we have partnered with multiple local developers.

Directly controlling the site will ensure that this development is also carefully staged for the benefit of the whole community.