Methuselah’s Lot: State Government should take over Le Cornu site with plans set to drag on

9 May 2019

SA-BEST MLC Frank Pangallo today renewed his call for the State Government to either buy or take control of the process to develop the empty Le Cornu’s site on O’Connell Street.

His plea comes after Acting Lord Mayor, Houssam Abiad, told Adelaide City Council it would be at least three years before a sod was turned - at the earliest – in the development of the site.

At a Select Committee inquiry into the controversial Adelaide Oval hotel development, ACC Chief Executive, Mark Goldstone, gave evidence that Council’s “aggressive ambition” was to have development begin in two years.

“Adelaide City Council is still sorting through the Expressions of Interest - by the time they are announced at the end of the year or early next year, and then go through the laborious community engagement, consultation, planning and development processes, it’s highly unlikely we’d see any action on the infamous site for another five years,” Frank said.

“By that time, it should be renamed Methuselah’s Lot.”

Frank said any development on the site was likely to cause controversy and he could see the likelihood of legal challenges - particularly if a potential developer wanted to object to the Council’s height restriction of eight storeys.

“We’ll still be talking about the future of this site by the time the next State election rolls around in 2022,” Frank said.

“I am calling on the Premier to take it off Adelaide City Council’s hands and just get on with it so that struggling traders on O’Connell Street can cling to the hope that the once thriving business strip can be revived,” he said.

“To be told it could be three years - at the earliest - before any decision is reached on the future of the site - is a blow to their confidence.

“Many businesses are struggling to remain viable while others have shut up shop - fed up with the constant bureaucratic procrastination.”

Council members have also again floated the ludicrous idea of placing shipping container-style “pop up” ventures on the site - or converting it to a temporary car park, as suggested by Councillors Anne Moran and Phillip Martin.

“The car park suggestion is a better option because it at least provides an incentive for more people to visit the precinct than is currently happening, given the street’s notorious parking problems,” Frank said.

“Shipping containers detracts from the amenity and is simply an ugly look,” he said.

“To have such a prominent commercial space languishing empty for decades is an embarrassment.”

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