Frequently asked questions

Answering common questions about Council development of 88 O’Connell Street

In February 2018, after 30 years of lying vacant, the City of Adelaide purchased the former Le Cornu site at 88 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide.

The site presents an opportunity to facilitate a strategic development in a timely way that considers the needs of the community and contributes to the future of North Adelaide as a commercial and residential district.

Here we answer your questions about the project.

The City of Adelaide has selected Commercial & General to develop and revitalise the site. Through the Expression of Interest process, Commercial & General clearly demonstrated their capacity and capability to deliver a project of this scale.

Commercial & General is an Adelaide based development and construction company with a 20+ year history and more than $2.2 billion in projects delivered or under development across healthcare, industrial, workplace and communities.

Commercial & General is in the process of delivering some of the state’s most significant projects, including:

  • The $1 billion WEST Football Park redevelopment which is already home to 550+ residents and will see 1,200 homes delivered.
  • The Australian Bragg Centre which will house Australia’s first proton therapy unit as a landmark cancer centre set to change lives.
  • The $345 million Calvary Adelaide Hospital; a state-of-the-art medical facility and the largest private hospital ever built in SA.

Off the back of projects such as WEST, Commercial & General understands how to create communities where people can live well and thrive. These attributes will play a vital part in the successful revitalisation of 88 O’Connell.

Adelaide-founded Architecture firm Woods Bagot has been engaged to design 88 O’Connell. Woods Bagot is another company with leading experience in delivering projects of scale and profile as well as creating quality communities.

Council purchased the land to accelerate a development outcome which would contribute to the revitalisation of North Adelaide.

Council is not a developer and cannot take on the risk associated with a development of this scale. It therefore needed an approach to minimise its commercial risk whilst ensuring a fiscally responsible outcome.

In September 2018, the City of Adelaide initiated an Expression of Interest process. The purpose of this process was to invite developers to submit a proposal to Council to undertake the redevelopment of the site.

The commercial negotiations have sought to balance the expectations of the community, with the commercial imperatives required to ensure the development can be delivered.

The commercial negotiations will ensure that Council maintains a level of control to avoid the site being held by a private developer for an extended period, but with limited involvement in the development as it progresses.

The commercial arrangement requires Commercial & General to develop the site in accordance with the endorsed design concept. The design concept incorporates a portion of open space on the corner of O’Connell Street and Tynte Street.

This area of open space in the form of a plaza will be retained by Council in line with our ambition to support the delivery of civic infrastructure to foster community connections.

The Guiding Principles were the outcome of the community engagement process undertaken by Council in May 2018. They were endorsed by Council on 14 August 2018 and incorporated into the framework for assessing proposals from interested development consortiums through the Expression of Interest process.

The proposal has responded to most of the Guiding Principles. The proposal will act as key attractor of people to the precinct supporting a vibrant and active main street. It will incorporate complementary uses in the form of food, wellness and a technology offering. The new publicly accessible open spaces provide an opportunity for the community to meet and connect.

Car parking will be below street level and this will minimise traffic and vehicle impacts to the adjacent residential area and ensure Centenary Street retains a residential character.

The community told us that it’s time to act and fully realise the potential of the site. The desire is for Council to facilitate the revitalisation of North Adelaide through enabling the progress of a development with the potential to become a key attractor of residents, shoppers, new businesses and visitors to Adelaide.

It is noted that the proposal exceeds the height levels outlined in the Guiding Principles. Consistent feedback received through the Expression of Interest process, was that a lower height limit constrains the development, making the project financially unfeasible – particularly when balanced with the need for the project to be a catalyst in the precinct’s revitalisation.

The decision of Council has been finely balanced to achieve our goal of making headway in advancing site development for all city ratepayers in a fiscally responsible and timely manner after nearly 30 years of lying vacant.

Commercial & General, as part of the development planning, will work with the community to manage the impacts of construction. This is likely to commence in mid-2022.

Through the Expression of Interest process, the consistent feedback received was that a lower height limit constrains the development, making the project financially unfeasible – particularly when balanced with the need for the project to be a catalyst in the precinct’s revitalisation.

The height decision of Council has been finely balanced to achieve our goal of developing the site for all our city ratepayers in a fiscally responsible manner.

The podium levels of the development are designed to complement the height of nearby heritage buildings such as the Archer hotel. The upper tower levels are set back significantly from the boundary and step up gradually, which provides visual relief to the nearby low-rise buildings. Materials and finishes will be selected with consideration of the existing streetscape character including heritage places.

The proposal will include publicly accessible car parking to support the retail and commercial uses on the site. Council will not be involved in managing this car park.

It is proposed that the development will include 15% affordable housing, and this is reflected in the contract between the City of Adelaide and Commercial & General.

For residents and businesses

Developments greater in value than $10M are determined by the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP). Under the Development Regulations 2008, these projects will be referred to the Government Architect for advice. The nature of these projects lend themselves to the pre-lodgement and design review process, case managed by the relevant State Government Department.

For further information on the development application process please visit the Council website here

In December 2020, following a comprehensive evaluation process Council selected Commercial & General to develop the site and has now entered into a contractual arrangement. The City of Adelaide and Commercial & General are now required to carry out their obligations as set out in the contract.

On 17 March 2021 the developer lodged a planning application for the design concept which had been endorsed by Council.

The assessment of the proposal will be undertaken by the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP). As the application is a category 2 development for public consultation purposes only property owners or occupiers of adjacent land will have the opportunity to comment on the application.

For more information on this process please visit the Plan SA website here

The Head Contractor will be required to produce a comprehensive Traffic Management Plan prior to construction beginning. This is a future activity (2022).

The building will cast shadow at various times of day and year. The design incorporates generous setbacks from the street frontage and large spacing between the towers to reduce the shading effect (total combined footprint of the three towers is less than 30% of the site footprint).

A shading study is required under the Development Application process.

The development will have an overall positive impact on existing businesses by bringing more residents and visitors into the precinct and reactivating O’Connell Street as a vibrant destination.

Council will receive staged payments from Commercial & General which, once the development is complete, will be a total of $25.5M. There is no negative impact to ratepayers as this payment amount is greater than Council’s contribution to the purchase of the site.

Need more information?

Please contact Commercial & General via the project website if you have any questions about the development and next steps.