Friday, June 21, 2024

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HomeIssue 8Old Melanka site for sale – again

Old Melanka site for sale – again

The old Melanka site, proposed for an eight-story residential, hotel and commercial complex, is for sale again.
Paul Masters, a spokesman for the Ainsworth family group, said a year ago the $100m project was fully funded and ready to go early this year.
The eight story height had been a continuing controversy in the town but the project was seen as a turn-around for a flagging economy.
The real estate agency L J Hookers has just announced that the approved complex of 13,600 square metres with four street frontages is on the market again.
It is zoned Tourist Commercial – Exceptional Development Permit, a mixed use comprising of 261 multiple dwellings / serviced apartments / hotel rooms, commercial uses, including shops, offices, restaurants and bars, in three eight-story buildings and a single storey child care centre.


  1. Think of all the tourist money and associated benefits Alice has lost in the eight years since this place was closed and subsequently demolished! How typical of developers and councils.

  2. I agree with you Phil, but it’s more the fault of greedy / full of hot air, all promises no substance when the crunch comes developers.

  3. Just another one of Adam Giles’ many past, front page grabbing thought bubbles that were never going to get anywhere. Bit like him. NTG be done with it, buy the land, turn it into community space – huge solar driven water theme park using recycled water. Great for tourism.

  4. Maybe Central Land Council, Yeperenye Shopping Centre and Centrecorp should get a loan through Aboriginal Benefits Account to build on Aboriginal land.
    They could let Lhere Artepe Enterprise run the show like they did with the three IGA Enterprise shops that went down hill even with the so called help of these businessmen on the board when it went bust.
    Sorry, forgot Lhere Artepe’s doors have been closed for months for five directors – three from Untulye and two from Ilpme, were given TRESSPASS NOTICES not to enter premises, so how can you run a organisation without a full board?
    I see they are still running meetings and voting people on the Central Land Council Excecutive Board without the full board and CLC are allowing it. This is ILLEGAL.

  5. Old Melanka. Before that, Stott House and Todd House across the road on the opposite corner where the Town Council offices are now.
    Such a rich history of residents. So many stories to tell. So many young people from all walks of life who came to the Alice for so many reasons.
    So many happy stories, sad stories, life in its richest tapestries.
    There is a spirit in that vacant block in that place in Todd Street.
    A wonderful spirit that should be recognized and honoured by any organization or enterprise that eventually purchases that place for future development.
    I really hope so.

  6. Stott House is where my parents first met. It was a government employees hostel which was originally established by the military during WW 2.
    The Commonwealth replaced Stott and Todd Houses with the Melanka Lodge, officially opened in 1971.
    As Australia’s national economy began to deteriorate after 1979, the Fraser Government’s “razor gang” ceased funding for Commonwealth hostel accommodation for public servants, and control of Melanka was transferred to the NT Government in 1981.
    In turn the NT Government leased Melanka to private operators.
    This short history shows that there has never been any major private sector development of that site – and it’s clear that will most likely remain the case.

  7. I am the agent for the sale of the Melanka site so I obviously have a vested interest in the property. Regardless, it is important that accurate facts are presented on forums such as this.
    Paul has stated that a price of $11m is fanciful.
    The last couple of similarly zoned development sites in the CBD sold for between $100,000 and $155,000 per unit site. As the Melanka site has approval for 261 units that would value the site at between $26m and $40.5m for the residential unit component alone, without taking into account the value of the commercial land component.
    So, accounting for economies of scale, a more realistic unit price of say $55,000 to $70,000 per unit site equates to a value of between $14.3m and $18.27m for the unit component alone. Maybe so not so fanciful at $11m if you can see the vision.
    Alex stated that the old Melanka property was leased by the NT Government to private operators and that there has never been any private sector development of that site.
    That is not true. The property was sold by the NT Government to private operators in the mid 1980s. I know that to be true as I conducted the sale.
    Those owners sold it to the current owners about 10 years ago. I also know that to be true as I conducted that sale as well.

  8. Yes, the NT Government sold an existing property to the private sector which was originally financed by the Commonwealth and constructed under contract by Barclay Brothers, a Queensland firm (the same construction company also built the Commonwealth-financed redevelopment of the Alice Springs Hospital from 1972).
    There were various alterations to Melanka over the years but it was essentially the original building complex built by the Commonwealth.
    The only “contribution” the private sector has made to this site is to demolish nearly a decade ago what was a functioning property and asset to the tourism industry and the town’s economy, and replaced it with a vacant lot used as a de facto carpark overshadowed by deteriorating and dying trees, a sad left-over from the Melanka days.
    This grand achievement is a result of the visionaries of our commercial sector who have all too often blighted Alice Springs with other empty lots and various properties that have long been propped up by government rent, in the vain expectation of superior developments that obviously don’t stack up.
    Since the ideology of economic rationalism gained prominence in the 1980s we’ve long been sold on the notion that the private sector is inherently more efficient than government in generating and maintaining economic development.
    Alice Springs provides a convincing example that this approach is deeply flawed, and the Melanka site is spectacularly symbolic of this realization.

  9. “if you can see the vision”.
    Fancy using that phrase Doug! The greater vision by the developers and yourself would have been to leave the height impediment in place. The only thing they see is the dollars.
    Bugger our children’s future.

  10. As for anything else, it is easier, faster, cheapest to demolish than to build. Two screaming examples: The Old Drive-In and Melanka Lodge. Thank you CLP.

  11. I am very keen to contact the family who owned Melanka Lodge in the early 90s. I remember the son’s first name was Greg. Can anyone help with a surname or anything else?
    Many thanks.

  12. The spirits of old Stott House and Melanka residents are watching over the site. And the Old Fella, Thomas A’Becket Flood, is Up There, smiling. Enjoying the dogfight. Long may our sacred site remain red dirt and trees. As one with the spirit of country.


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