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 purchased the former Le Cornu site at 88 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, to facilitate a development that reflects community needs and contributes to the revitalisation of North Adelaide.

Council has taken control of this site because of its strategic importance to the future of North Adelaide as a commercial and residential district. The site was acquired to ensure a timely and suitable development that is fiscally responsible and delivers public value.

After nearly 30 years of lying vacant, Council is on with the job of helping bring the landmark North Adelaide site back to life.

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.

Following taking ownership of the site, City of Adelaide has undertaken extensive community consultation and stakeholder engagement which informed the development of Guiding Principles that were endorsed by Council.

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

On 19 November 2019, Council selected a developer to commence the detailed commercial negotiations process.

On 16 December 2020, Council announced Commercial & General (C&G) as the developer to undertake and manage the design and construction of the development to deliver the outcomes for the community.

There were a number of considerations in selecting the developer. Of primary importance was the developer’s financial and overall project capability and capacity to design and deliver the project.

The Guiding Principles were also a component of the framework for assessing proposals from interested development consortiums. They are high level criteria that define the City of Adelaide’s aspirational requirements for the site. The Guiding Principles can be viewed here.

C&G has been selected based on careful assessment. They have demonstrated the right balance to deliver an iconic development that will become a destination and key attractor of people to North Adelaide for residents, shoppers, new businesses and visitors.

The City of Adelaide has undertaken a staged approach to engagement with North Adelaide residents, property owners, businesses and the general community.

Council committed to the process of engaging with the community early to gather views on the short-term activation and long-term development of the site.

A number of facilitated workshops were held in May 2018, in addition to an on-line survey which was available through Council’s YourSay Adelaide website. This early engagement aimed to understand community aspirations for the site.

Draft Guiding Principles were established, and a further period of community engagement was undertaken to determine the community’s acceptance of the draft Guiding Principles.

The Guiding Principles were endorsed by Council on 14 August 2018 and formed part of the framework for assessing proposals from interested development consortiums through the Expression of Interest process.

The community told us that it’s time to act and fully realise the potential of the site.

A report summarising the community engagement and feedback received is available by clicking here.

The Council invites the community to attend an information session where the developer will provide an update on the project. These sessions will be scheduled for early 2021. To register your interest please click here.

Council has entered into a commercial arrangement with Commercial & General and has endorsed a design concept in their capacity as the owner of the land. A development approval is required before construction can commence.

Commercial & General is responsible for undertaking this process and in the first instance will need to submit a Planning Application to the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) for assessment against the requirements of the Development Plan. This is a process independent of Council and one which may influence the final design outcome.

The Planning Approval is subject to a statutory consultation process in accordance with the requirement of the Development Act, 1999. This is a legislated process and not part of Council’s consultation policy.

The proposed design for Eighty Eight O’Connell will transform this landmark site and enhance the vibrancy of one of the city’s premier streets.

A mix of apartments, commercial suites and retail space will be incorporated with approximately 180 apartments to be built across three towers. These towers will sit atop three-levels of connected retail and commercial space.

At ground level, an active retail strip will be presented with café and restaurant tenancies as well as thoroughfares to attract visitors.

Level one will include a series of commercial suites which will bring workers into O’Connell Street and provide services such as medical consulting to residents of the building and broader community.

Level two will include amenities for residents such as indoor/outdoor swimming pools, gym, spa, sauna and squash court. It will also include a large outdoor terrace that will be accessible to the public and can be used to host community events.

The precinct will also include 394 car parking bays below street level, for resident, commercial and public use.

The concept also includes new open spaces for the community which is in line with Council’s ambition to support the delivery of civic infrastructure to foster community connections.

The development will complement and expand on the existing offerings along O’Connell Street. It will also bring new residents into the area which will support the new retail and commercial offerings as well as existing businesses in the area.

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.

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.

Yes, car parking for the public will be available within the development to support the new retail and commercial land uses.

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.

To learn more about the development, intended timelines, next steps up to and during construction, including when apartments will be available for purchase and about commercial leasing, please contact Commercial & General via the project website: www.88oconnell.com

Commercial & General can now proceed to prepare the development application for the scheme. From there:

  • Construction of the Sales Centre will commence on the site in the first half of 2021, including a complete demonstration apartment.
  • A sales launch will occur in Spring 2021
  • Retail and commercial leasing will occur from 2021
  • Construction of the building anticipated to commence in 2022 and be complete in 2025

The development application process is anticipated to be resolved in early 2021.

  • Construction of the Sales Centre will commence on the site in the first half of 2021, including a complete demonstration apartment.
  • A sales launch will occur in Spring 2021
  • Retail and commercial leasing will occur from 2021
  • Construction of the building anticipated to commence in 2022 and be complete in 2025

The lawn area is now open and available for all in the community to enjoy.

The City of Adelaide has held several short-term events and activities on the site and will continue to do so in the transition period until Commercial & General begins construction. All events will be listed at What's On.

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.

On 19 November 2019, Council selected its preferred proponent to commence negotiations on a design concept and commercial terms. This needed to stay in confidence while terms were negotiated, and we are pleased to be able to now announce Commercial & General.