By ERWIN CHLANDA
Aurora, the South Australian hotel and land development group which has a long association with Alice Springs, is expanding its latest project just outside The Gap [#1 on the aerial photo is the Gap Causeway].
It is turning the caravan park [#3] into what chairman Ian Drummond calls an up-market housing estate with 37 lots.
They will be sold as fully serviced vacant blocks. Construction of roads and services has started.
The tavern [#5] next-door will undergo “a big change, along the lines of a modern boutique pub down south”.
And the store and service station [#4] is under contract of sale to a fuel company, yet to be named, and be given a “significant capital upgrade”.
All the while, the conversion of the 80 room motel [#2] into 40 town houses will, in a matter of weeks, see its first residents move into the first of the four buildings being converted.
The second one is due for completion early next month, the third in October and the fourth in February next year.
Half of the town houses have been financed under the Orwellian named Real Housing For Growth scheme under which the NT Government is guaranteeing rent payments at market rates for 10 years.
These dwellings are likely to be used by NT public servants in essential services, says Mr Drummond.
The other 20 two-storey town houses have mostly been sold to private buyers, for up to $362,000.
Aurora has previously turned into “prime real-estate” what Mr Drummond calls “a formerly run down public dwellings ghetto” known as the Cawood Court flats in Araluen – now known as City Edge. It has also developed North Edge and the current project is called South Edge.
The popular Red Centre Dreaming venue [#6] with its stage backed by the spectacular foothills of the range will fall victim to the new developments.
Mr Drummond says “we’ve tried for nine years to make it profitable” but – amazingly – it was impossible to find local Aboriginal dancers, and it “proved too expensive to fly them in regularly from Queensland and Sydney”.