Tenders closed for complex on Melanka site


Tenders have closed for building a five storey apartment and business complex on the old Melanka site, according to Lahey Constructions, the firm which recently built the new outpatients department of the Alice Springs hospital.
A Lahey spokesman says he understands his firm is one of several tenderers, both local and national, and no decision appears yet to have been made by the client, CJHA Pty Ltd.
But suppliers in the local construction industry say builders have been seeking quotes for the job which in essence is unchanged from the application in 2011 when the block went on the market again because building costs were too high.
The Planning Minister at the time, Gerry McCarthy, announced the project in February, 2010 as a “$60 million mixed residential and tourist development with “five buildings covering 40% of the site, 15% of which is five storeys high” and which will have more than 100 two- and three-bedroom residential and short stay apartments. This proposal will include a commercial floor area that includes a proposed licensed venue.”
The approval was amended by Terry Mills in 2012, deleting the basement car park “in response to the need to protect three sacred trees”. The number of units was reduced by eight and there is now marginally less floor area for shop and restaurant space.
It seems CJHA Pty Ltd, the original owners, are now ready to go ahead.
The redevelopment of the site – for decades a workers’ then backpackers’ hostel – began with a proposal for a Gilligan’s backpacker hostel, similar to the one in Cairns.
While this is no longer current, a link with Gilligan’s continues: the sole director of CJHA is Christian John Hastings Ainsworth, a member of the poker machines dynasty who has trademark protection for several entities called Gilligan’s.


  1. I assume this is an artist’s rendition of the finished project? This looks amazing! You will have a landmark that will make residents, both permanent and transient, very proud of their town. I look forward to your updates on the progress of construction. On a more personal note, Erwin, I hope you have fully recovered from your unfortunate traffic mishap. I don’t suppose the culprit has come forward? Stay well and keep reporting to us on the other side of the world.

  2. It will be a great thing for Alice Springs if this does go ahead so that more of the much needed accommodation is made available and with more to follow will help make living in Alice more affordable.
    The greed of some landlords has already driven rents above an affordable ceiling and the housing commission has become no better.


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