If it comes off it will be nothing like the town has seen since the hospital was built in the mid-1970s: a $100m project, eight storeys high, 170 dwellings, an 85 room hotel, professional office space, restaurants, cafes – even a 110 place child care centre – all that adjacent to the CBD, on the empty Melanka site, now a painful symbol of the town's economic malaise. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
After a dream-come-true visit to New Zealand, it was special returning to days of summer rain. Alice Springs is home, and contrary to recent headlines, I think we can move into 2014 with our cup of confidence more than half-full.
It's back to the drawingboard for the high-rise building planned for the former Commonwealth Bank site in Parsons Street, says Sitzler Brothers general manager in Alice Springs, Trevor Jacobs.
He says the firm had applied for six storeys but only five had been granted.
Mr Jacobs says it is now being re-assessed whether the reduced size is economically viable.
The Exceptional Development Permit for five storeys will lapse in two years.
Conditions include a roof garden to enhance enhancing the building's view from the town's hills and a pedestrian-friendly awning.
The ground level ceilings are to be 4.5m high and the car park on level two is to have minimum ceiling height of 3.1m "to facilitate further adaptive re-use".
Other conditions imposed by Minister for Lands and Planning, Gerry McCarthy, include:-
• An "active facade treatment" for the side facing the laneway to the west, between the building and the post office.
• Landscaping of the rooftop, including planting and future maintenance and surface finishes in order to enhance the building's visual impact when viewed from the town's surrounding hills.
• Airconditioning condensers are to be appropriately screened from public view, and located so as to minimise thermal and acoustic impacts to the satisfaction of the consent authority.
• Pipes, fixtures and vents ... must be concealed in service ducts or otherwise hidden from view.
The permit says "external appearance of the building is expected to enhance the street scape by incorporating a large awning canopy wrapping around both key frontages providing all weather protection for pedestrians.
"Shadow diagrams have indicated that the adjoining properties will not be adversely subjected to shadow effect during critical times of the year." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.