Hotels, Accommodation on Maps for Fullarton Main Site

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The state government says it will soon open the former Julia Farr Center site in the city’s mid-east to market deals, with ‘upmarket hotels’ expected to be among potential deals for the vast land.

Renewal SA has now completed a market sounding process for the vacant 2.85 hectare strip of land – also known as Highgate Park – at 103 Fisher Street, Fullarton, home to the nine-storey Julia Farr Centre, the Gosse international student residence, landscaped gardens and adjoining parking.

The Julia Farr Center was built in the 1970s and housed people with disabilities, but it stopped accepting new residents in 2014 and was permanently closed in 2020. All residents have since been moved to community housing or elderly care.

Renewal SA is managing the sale of Highgate Park, with agents JLL and Savills, on behalf of the Home for the Incurables Trust, which owns the site.

The Urban Renewal Authority completed its market survey process late last year.

A spokesperson for Renewal SA said the agency was “finalizing preparations” to launch the site to market through an expression of interest process, which is expected to begin “in the coming weeks”.

The property is expected to attract interest from a wide range of local and interstate developers for a variety of potential outcomes which may include residences, senior residences, senior care, mixed-use and upscale hotels.

“Renewal SA was very pleased with the response from interested parties, both local and interstate,” the spokesperson said.

“We note that increased interest in the highway has emerged since the market survey and that restrictions have eased.”

The spokesperson said the prospective acquirer will determine the future use and development of the site, subject to approvals.

“This is a unique offering in terms of location, size and existing built form, and the market will determine its value through the expression of interest process,” the spokesperson said.

“The property is expected to attract interest from a wide range of local and interstate developers for a variety of potential outcomes which may include residences, senior residences, senior care, mixed-use and upscale hotels. “

Proceeds from the sale of the land will be ‘strictly’ earmarked for people with disabilities, the state government said.

Social Services Minister Nat Cook is the sole trustee of the Trust, which owns Highgate Park.

Cook said that while the sale was a “complex undertaking”, it is “guided by ongoing consultation with people living with disabilities, their families and their support workers”.

“The HFI Trust was established to support people living with disabilities and improve their quality of life – all proceeds from the sale will go towards this end,” she said in a statement.

JFA Purple Orange CEO Robbi Williams, whose disability organization is advising the trust on its future governance and how best to use its incoming funds, said there were no plans for the site to be reassigned to a facility specifically for people with disabilities.

“In terms of perpetual trust, obviously you want to get as much money as possible,” he said.

“Yes [the site] is converted in a manner that produces the greatest possible return for the Trust, we believe this is a good thing. »

He said the “one caveat” was to ensure the development “contributes to a sense of inclusion in Australian society and communities”.

“There is nothing in what Renewal SA says that in itself would overlap with that,” he said.

The Department of Social Services conducted two rounds of consultations at the Highgate Park site in 2020 calling for suggestions on how best to repurpose the facility.

Among the recommendations the Department received were purpose-built housing for people with disabilities, a training center for disabled carers, a day care center for children with disabilities, or a recreation center for people with disabilities.

A DHS spokesperson said in March last year that “any decision on the future of the site will meet the goals of the Disability Benefit Trust, including all assets owned by the trust.”

Williams said it’s ‘difficult to guess’ how the Trust will spend the new funds, but he expects it will go towards disability services not typically provided by government or the community sector. .

“There are going to be big things, you can imagine things about how to invest in the disability community and its leadership going forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Gosse International Student Residence, a Highgate Park tenant housing 64 international students, is worried about its future there and says it was not involved in the consultation over the sale of the land.

Residence spokesman Adam Bowden said the future of the hostel was “at the mercy” of the future developer.

“We wouldn’t want to interrupt the kind of overarching goal of this consultation which was to make the most money for people with disabilities in the future,” Bowden said.

“It’s just disappointing that we find ourselves in a situation where we are talking to estate agents who have been told to sell the site as one site.”

Furthermore, Renewal SA has not yet announced its preferred developer for the former vacant Le Cornu site in Forestville.

That’s despite former treasurer Rob Lucas saying on March 16 that an announcement would be “very likely next week or the week after.”

Renewal SA has previously claimed negotiations are taking “longer than expected”. The agency initially planned to announce the successful developer in the second half of 2021.

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