Published: March 27, 2018

A GLEAMING new hotel is on the cards for the Adelaide CBD, with height – much more than girth – the primary focus.

David Lee, managing director of developer the Mandala Group – which built the up-market Rowands Apartments near Chinatown and also owns the Thebarton Ice Arena – has lodged an application to erect a 61 metre high hotel on a site that is little larger than a giant postage stamp.

Mr Lee hopes to begin work on the 183-room Travelodge hotel on Bentham St, a small cut through between Waymouth and Franklin streets, by August this year with a completion date in early 2020.

The 18-storey hotel, which Mr Lee hopes will be a four-star offering, will have an end value of around $48 million and will cater for the corporate and international tourism demographics.

“I was in Shanghai recently and spoke to several tourism groups about bringing visitors across to Adelaide,” he said.

The site, midway down the eastern side of the relatively nondescript Bentham, St is currently used as a tiny, ground floor only car park.

“The hotel will reactivate Bentham St, with an alfresco bar on the ground floor and restaurant on the first floor. It is also in the middle of a $500 million CBD redevelopment with Charter Hall and Uniting Communities due to complete their buildings next year nearby on Franklin St and the revamp of Her Majesty’s Theatre will begin soon, ” he said.

The site is in the middle of the City of Adelaide’s laneways refurb, from the riverbank to the Central Market with Bank St already revitalised.

Mr Lee, who has owned the site for several years, spent 12 months chasing hotel operators to secure a deal.

“It’s hard to secure interest if Adelaide is not activated,” he said. “But the city has really been stepping up, there is a vibrancy and international tourism here now.”

Property agent Savills (SA) helped seal a deal with the major hotel operator, the TFE group which owns the Adina Hotel off Victoria Square.

Mr Lee expects the construction to generate up to 160 jobs with a further 30 to 50 permanent jobs on completion.

Adelaide architects Pruszinski PACT are behind what is likely to be one of the CBD’s more impressive design feats.

“Creating a significant hotel on a compact site was a challenging brief,” PACT director David Girolamo said.

“The hotel design respects the adjoining heritage building with detailed angular columns on the lower floors while the upper glass facade references the central CBD context.”

Article by Richard Evans, originally appeared in The Advertiser on March 23, 2018.