$330m Adelaide casino expansion confirmed

A long-planned, multi-million-dollar expansion of Adelaide Casino will go ahead, after Skycity Entertainment Group confirmed it has committed $330 million to the project more than 18 months after it received planning approval.

Skycity chief executive Graeme Stephens said in a statement on 26 July that, after “careful consideration,” the Auckland-based company would increase the number of hotel rooms in the proposed development from 89 to 123, adding an additional floor to the plans in the process.

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The design for the expansion, prepared by The Buchan Group under principal David Cole, with interiors by Hecker Guthrie Walter Brooke, also includes new restaurants and bars, including a rooftop bar, and function spaces for up to 750 people.

It is one of a group of large-scale projects set to transform Adelaide’s central riverbank precinct, including a $220 million redevelopment of Adelaide Festival Plaza designed by ARM Architecture and Taylor Cullity Lethlean, the redevelopment of the Adelaide Festival Centre by Hassell, and a 27-storey tower developed by Walker Corporation and designed by Bates Smart.

Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, said he was pleased to see the project moving forward.

“This redevelopment and the wider development across the Riverbank Precinct is a welcome investment in the state. We look forward to offering both locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy a world class entertainment precinct.”

When planning approval was granted for the expansion in January 2016, construction of the then-$300 million project was mooted to begin in mid-2016, but the project has been beset by delays, with negotiations between the casino, the government and developer Walker Group still underway into 2017.

Delays in the approval process for Walker Corporation’s 108-metre-tall, Bates Smart-designed office tower – which would include an underground carpark essential to plans for the casino – along with discussions with the state government and independent gambling authority around gambling regulations, all contributed to the postponement of construction, according to media reports.

Skycity chief executive Graeme Stephens said the updated expansion plans would be a success for the company and for Adelaide.

“We believe there is demand for more quality hotel rooms in Adelaide from both domestic and international visitors. This provides a better-balanced product while also helping South Australia realise its full potential as a premium tourist destination.”

Skycity has also allocated funds within the budget to remodel the existing Adelaide Casino building in the historic Adelaide railway station.

The State Heritage Unit (SHU) raised concerns about the development’s impact on the heritage settings of the Adelaide Festival Centre and Adelaide Railway Station when the proposal was being considered for approval.

“The heritage advice is not supportive of the bulk and height of the new building,” a report prepared by the heritage unit read. “The SHU considers the proposal will adversely affect the setting of the Adelaide Railway Station and will significantly diminish the presence and setting of the Drama Centre.”

Construction on the expansion of Adelaide Casino will begin in early 2018 following the completion of early works. The redeveloped casino and hotel complex is expected to be completed by 2020.

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