Casino owners plan 235 apartments

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By ERWIN CHLANDA

Plans to build about 235 new “residential apartments across five new residential buildings” varying from four to five storeys with basement parking and a new child care are being considered by the Development Consent Authority (DCA).

Some of the planned buildings exceed current height limits.

The project will cover most of the eight hectare casino and convention centre site in Alice Springs, with some buildings close to neighbouring properties (photo at top).

Town Councillor and real estate agent Eli Melky, speaking on his own behalf and not for the town council, says the additional rental space is needed by the town and so is commercial development in general.

DCA’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 8. The local members are Deepika Mathur, Christopher Neck, Allison Bitar and Matt Paterson. Steve Brown is the alternate member for Allison Bitar and Matt Paterson. The chairwoman is Suzanne Philip.

According to the application, on behalf of Iris Capital Group Pty Ltd, the new owners of the complex, the project will also include “redevelopment and extensions to the existing casino, bars, entertainment venues and restaurants, the part removal and addition of hotel rooms (a net increase), a new hotel lobby, gymnasium, day spa and creche.

“Whilst all land uses are consistent and anticipated with the Zone TC (Tourist Commercial) the height of the proposed new residential buildings extends beyond the height limit specified” and this has triggered the application, it states.

 

UPDATE December 20:

Town Council CEO Robert Jennings, when asked to comment about the project, provided this statement:

Relevant aspects of the proposed Lasseters Hotel Expansion, pertaining to Alice Springs Town Council’sSubdivision & Development Guidelines, have been assessed in accordance with the requirements of the Development Consent Authority.

Those aspects of the Exceptional Development Permit application have received conditional approval from Council, with consideration to be given to cross-overs, storm water run-off, parking, and waste management.

On November 28 a communique was sent to all elected members requesting their feedback on the application. Councillors’ primary concern related to waste storage and collection, i.e. to clarify expectations for absorbing waste generated onsite into the existing kerbside collection schedule, or will the development’s management assume responsibility for waste to be delivered directly to the Regional Waste Management Facility.

Further clarification on these matters has been sought from the project developer.

 

UPDATE December 22:

The Planning Commission intends to hold a hearing regarding the proposed exceptional development in Alice Springs in February 2023. Prior to the hearing a report will be prepared by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics including a copy of all public submissions, according to a spokesperson.

This will be made available to the public on the NT Planning Commission website at least two days prior to a hearing.

Commission hearings are open to the public.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Alice doesn’t need this much additional residential space.
    This proposal meets the demand for enclave style developments which will become mainly homogenous non Aboriginal communities.
    Meanwhile, the newcomers from remote communities will increasingly occupy the older Housing Trust properties.
    Sad that our town is being divided in this way.

  2. The Alice actually needs well more than 235 additional dwellings. The problem is the majority of people needing the accommodation won’t be able to afford a deposit on an apartment in the complex.
    Private developments like this exist for one main reason: to maximise their return on their investment. My guess is 235 apartments ensure a more than healthy return on investment. I guess if they just build say, 50 apartments it won’t be worth their while.
    Why? Materials and labour costs most likely won’t add up for what they paid for the Casino. I think if they mass build they can buy materials in bulk, save on costs. Labour would be no doubt the highest cost.
    The developer doesn’t need to sell all 235 apartments. They can lease most of them out (short term or long term) and still make a strong return on investment thanks to Alice Springs already having a good rental market.
    Flooding the market will no doubt lower the cost of rents but that’s not a problem as the casino can still diversify their revenue from not just sales, and rents, but also from the gaming machines, retail rent, investors share in the casino, the hotel’s revenue, and their hotel operations.
    Anyone who is on the public housing waiting list is going to be told if you apply today, you will be expected to wait six to eight years. The data is even published on the NTG’s website.
    I have even heard of people being told of waiting as long as 10 years. The wait list for a single bedroom in Tennant Creek or Darwin is eight to 10 years. The published stats for the Alice Springs wait list is just under 1000 and there are an additional 482 people on a priority waiting list.
    If there was not such a large wait list then crime in the central business district would not be as bad as it is. We wouldn’t have such a big problem to begin with, which makes this a Catch 22 problem.
    People from communities are coming into town for medical reasons, shopping, visiting relatives etc.
    The shortage of housing short term and long term is leading to overcrowding in homes.
    Children aren’t being cared for properly.
    They don’t feel safe at home, their parents have guests over who might take advantage of them; the kids don’t know any better, leave home to go out and “have fun” at other people’s expense.
    Fewer children will want to run away from their home and cause trouble.
    They could be sleeping better at night instead of having to worry about trouble.
    Is there a way to gauge how many properties could be sold before the apartments are even built?
    Could a real-estate agent run a survey of how many people show serious interest? Will there be a chance for people to submit their interest before any construction occurs?
    My guess is there are – say – only 30 buyers willing to buy into this development now, or within the next six months, then I am guessing the bulk of units will just become leasehold units (short and long term). Or else this development gets marketed interstate and overseas to end up as rented investments.
    If the developer is going to lease apartments, then perhaps a portion could be leased to those who are on the six to eight year waiting list for public housing?
    My guess is the developer will not be interested, even with some government support, because of the fear of the stigma associated with public housing.

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