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Artist render of Festival Plaza courtyard area featuring futuristic structures with greenery and purple flowers and people walking through.

The largest section of Festival Plaza’s stunning public realm upgrade will be open in time for Adelaide’s biggest entertainment season in March next year, giving Adelaideans a distinctive new arts and leisure space to spend time in as they converge on different parts of the CBD for the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Writers’ Week and WOMAD.

Chief Executive of Renewal SA, Chris Menz, says that the state government and Walker Corporation have collaborated over the last six months to resolve a number of potential barriers to the timely co-delivery of the integrated public realm and are now poised to make significant progress in the lead-up to Adelaide’s major festival month.

“We are very excited to have agreed on a new way forward with our development partner and to be working in partnership to deliver the vision for a new Festival Plaza for the Riverbank and for the people of South Australia,” says Chris.

“Having the plaza open to the public by March next year is crucial for our state economy as it will ensure that the community has access to an attractive new landscaped space that showcases Adelaide through our premier arts precinct and March festivals,” Chris says.

“The community will soon see major advances taking place above ground on the Festival Plaza site and for the first time will be able to imagine themselves and their families spending quality time within our reinvigorated entertainment precinct and really enjoying this part of the city again.”

Construction has already commenced in earnest on the much-anticipated public realm that, once fully completed, will provide 16,500m2 of renewed open, walkable space between the Adelaide Festival Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse, Parliament House, historic Adelaide Railway Station, SkyCity Adelaide Casino and Riverbank footbridge.

A large interactive water feature, several refurbished public artworks, sheltered seating areas and a series of 16 dramatic, architecturally-designed arbours will also be incorporated into the final plaza design, with the first six (6) to be installed in mid-March.

The scheduled completion of the majority of the new Festival Plaza will coincide with the reopening of the refurbished Adelaide Festival Theatre early in the new year and provide improved access and beautified surrounds to one of Adelaide’s most beloved performance spaces.

The public realm upgrade is an integral part of the overall Festival Plaza redevelopment, which upon completion will also include a completely redesigned Station Road as well as Walker’s new three-storey retail complex and a 27-29 storey, 5 Star Green Star office building known as Festival Tower.

Walker’s five-level underground Festival Car Park and SkyCity Adelaide’s casino expansion, in addition to Adelaide’s Railway Station’s dramatic new northern entrance, also form part of the broader redevelopment of the precinct and have now been open to the public for several months.

Crucial to the successful co-delivery of the public realm upgrade is the collaboration between the public and private sectors, each of which is undertaking separate works on the open plaza that will ultimately connect and provide a seamless experience for visitors while fulfilling the over-arching architectural vision for the Festival Plaza site.

From early next year, Festival Plaza will be fully accessible from North Terrace, King William Road, Station Road, the Riverbank footbridge and Elder Park.

“We are delighted to be so close to being able to bring the people back and offer them a truly cohesive and greatly enhanced public space with enduring, multi-generational appeal. It’s a great win for our city.

“The $450 million investment that Walker is contributing to the Festival Plaza redevelopment, coupled with $213 million of state government funding, will see Festival Plaza become the world-class cultural meeting place that we always envisaged, the artistic heart of the Adelaide Riverbank and a state asset of which all South Australians can be proud.”

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