Published: August 24, 2015

A $300 million development of the heritage Adelaide General Post Office and precinct will revitalize the area with two glass fronted office towers and a plaza enclosed by food and retail spaces.

Major property group Charter Hall lodged a development application in July announcing their intent to create a new hub of social and business activity in the city.

“(It) will provide businesses, their people and their guests the opportunities to blend work and life experiences,” Charter Hall fund manager Matt Lane said.

The proposal follows a string of mixed use developments in the CBD centered around towers, including the 27 storey residential site Vue on King William and residential and commercial U2 on Waymouth that has 25 storeys.

The Precinct GPO proposal shows that the State Government’s decision to remove stamp duty on non-residential property has the potential to attract commercial development projects to the city.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia said a raft of policy changes by the State Government and City of Adelaide in recent years had broadened the opportunity for development in the CBD.

“The scale of development that’s possible has certainly increased in comparison with some years ago,” UDIA (SA) president John Stimson said.

“From a facilitation perspective, both the City of Adelaide and State Government have made some significant adjustments.”

Mr Stimson said the removal of stamp duty for non-residential developments showed confidence in Adelaide’s future as a business city.

“It sends out a message to the entirety of Australia that it’s a little bit cheaper to do business in Adelaide.

“There’s also been a change in the last year to become a far more tenant friendly market. Many potential tenants are able to get a competitive deal on floor space with some even receiving rent free periods.”

Mr Stimson said mixed use developments – such as that proposed for Precinct GPO - would most likely be favoured.

The site will incorporate the refurbished GPO and Telephone Exchange building plus the development of two new commercial A-Grade office towers. The GPO will remain within the complex but potentially in a new location.

The taller tower – a 20 level office structure – will be designed to achieve 5 star Green Star Design and a 5 star NABERS energy ratings. The 14 level tower will be constructed as though it is floating above the current GPO building but in reality will only overlap two edges of the heritage office.

All buildings will be connected via a network of laneways, potentially lined by small bars and eateries, which lead to the central plaza.

“This is an exciting opportunity to create a future use for Adelaide’s historic GPO site,” Mr Lane said.

“The proposed renewal of Precinct GPO will enhance the iconic GPO site and create a new precinct that is accessible to everyone…. Incorporating prestige workspaces, intimate laneways and open piazzas.”

In March last year Charter Hall paid Aspen Group $29.5 million for a 50 per cent share of the Franklin Street Property Trust. The Trust owns the adjoining Australian Taxation Office building on Franklin Street. As part of the deal, FSPT purchased the Adelaide GPO and surrounding land for $12 million.

If approved, work will begin next year creating up to 500 construction jobs during the build. Charter Hall anticipates it will be completed in 2018.

Another historically significant Adelaide site presents a “once in a generation” opportunity for mixed use development.

The State Government is seeking “innovative” expressions of interest from developers worldwide for the Royal Adelaide Hospital site on the city’s cultural boulevard, North Terrace.

Upon completion of the New Royal Adelaide Hospital in the north-western corner of the city, the current hospital site that encompasses 275,000 square meters will become available for development.

The Government’s objectives for the site are to:

  • Create a precinct that features world class buildings and public spaces that become a tourism or cultural attraction.
  • Have an economic focus, including creating job opportunities.
  • Activate the area through a mix of uses including cultural, commercial and recreational.
  • Strengthen connections to the East End, Riverbank educational and cultural precinct along North Terrace and to the Botanic Gardens and;
  • Focus on sustainability, supporting a carbon neutral city and achieving best practice in sustainable design.

Renewal SA is managing the process and expressions of interest close on September 1