The topic most people at this morning's Melanka hearing wanted to talk about wasn't on the agenda of the Development Consent Authority: The eight storeys. But quite a few other points were raised by about 20 "submittors". ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
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.
Building height limits have long been a hotly debated issue in Alice, and so is the now desperate need for major projects to crank up our economy. Open debate? Don't hold your breath. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Will the old Melanka site get an eight storey building?
Eight storeys high, 600 car parks partly underground and built by a Darwin firm that has its roots in Alice Springs: That's the new Melanka site story, according to reliable sources. It is proposed to be built in tandem with the supreme court building (pictured), a Sitzler project, in Parsons Street, at the former site of the Commonwealth Bank. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Tenders have closed for building a five storey apartment and business complex on the old Melanka site, reviving a project which the Planning Minister at the time, Gerry McCarthy, announced in February, 2010 as a "$60 million mixed residential and tourist development". ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Cold water was poured on the idea that construction would go ahead on the Melanka site as soon as mid-year in the Town Council meeting last night.
The Centralian Advocate ran a front-age story on March 6, quoting real estate agent Doug Fraser, that the plans have been down-sized and the owners hope to start selling "off the plan" in June with building to begin soon afterwards.
Greg Buxton, council's Director of Technical Services, in response to an enquiry from Alderman Eli Melky, said if the plans have been changed by more than 10% the developers may be required to make new submissions to the Development Consent Authority (DCA).
Mr Fraser, the manager of L J Hooker, says: "The owners have had discussions with the Town Planning Authority and have received a positive response.
"Obviously the project needs to be approved by the DCA with council having their input. We would hope that council would not unduly delay the project." KIERAN FINNANE reports. PICTURED: A drawing of the complex as it was planned originally.
The site of the former Melanka hostel in Todd Street is on the market again, for an asking price of $7.5m plus GST, this time complete with an exceptional development permit for a five storey "tourist and residential complex".
The land was bought in 2006 for $6.12m. The hostel was still in place but has been demolished since.
The land's unimproved capital value in July, 2009 was $4.5m.
The raising of the height limit from three storeys to five was opposed by some sections of the community.
L J Hooker's Doug Fraser says the fresh advertising of the property has only just started, and although there have been a couple of enquiries, it's likely to take some time for a sale to be achieved.
Mr Fraser said in June that the developer, Christian Ainsworth, a member of the poker machines dynasty, had commissioned Deloittes to assist in the development and that "the building costs will need to come down".
The total area is 1.3 hectares and "architectural plans will be passing with the sale," says the promotion.
The agency says this is a "prime corner allotment with three street frontages and adjoining parcel at rear ... and numerous fully established trees on site".