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Heritage no hurdle for Adelaide Casino expansion

South Australia’s independent planning body, the Development Assessment Commission, has approved a proposed $300 million expansion of the Adelaide Casino, in spite of heritage concerns.

The 11-storey expansion, which includes additional gaming spaces, restaurants and an 80-room hotel, will occupy government-owned land bordering the Adelaide Festival Plaza, also undergoing a proposed redevelopment.

Planning documents show the design of the expansion has been prepared by The Buchan Group. However, a spokesperson for Adelaide Casino told ArchitectureAU the project is out to tender and an architect has not yet been appointed.

The design of the expansion has the in-principle support of South Australia’s Government Architect. The Development Assessment Commission’s report read, “The proposal will provide uses that activate the public plaza with a 24/7 focus which will be a drawcard to the precinct. In addition, the design incorporates active and visually permeable frontages at ground level which interact with the public realm.”

However, the State Heritage Unit (SHU) has raised concerns in regards to the impact on the heritage settings the Adelaide Festival Centre and Adelaide Railway Station.

“The heritage advice is not supportive of the bulk and height of the new building,” the report 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.”

“The location of a new building abutting the northern façade of the Adelaide Railway Station is at odds with the Conservation Master Plan, which seeks to limit future additions and for development not to diminish the setting or significance of the building.”

Nevertheless, “the desire for uplift and the Government’s focus on creating development opportunities in the precinct needs to be balanced against heritage impacts,” the report concluded.

Construction on the expansion is set to begin by mid-2016.

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