Well-known South Australian publicans The Duxton Pubs Group – which recently acquired the Little Bang brand – will add the historic building to its suite of alehouses after being named the successful Proponent to reinvent the iconic structure, which was once the powerhouse of car manufacturing at Tonsley.
The new look multi-million-dollar watering hole will be home to a micro-brewery - where Little Bang’s unique range of craft beers will be served fresh from the tanks alongside exclusive Boiler House recipes inspired by the district – and multiple indoor and outdoor dining options including a bar, restaurant and café, and a bottle shop. The brewing company will also use the facility for its smaller batch experimental creations, including seltzers.
“Creativity and innovation are at the heart of what we do at Little Bang. This expansion for the brewery, as well as the addition of a second location is going to give Little Bang more opportunities to push boundaries with our beer, and our brewing operation,” Little Bang Co-CEO and Head of Brewing and Business Development Oscar Matthews said.
“We see this space becoming a creative hub and an incubator of new beers, seltzers, and more. A place of experimentation, collaboration and endless possibilities. With so many new friends right there on our doorstep, local businesses, residents, students and visitors alike, to say we're excited would be an understatement.”
A mezzanine level, dedicated to private functions and culinary training and development, is expected to host educational workshops and events for Tonsley’s tenants, students and the general public.
The venue will operate seven days a week and cater for crowds from breakfast right through to late-night pub trade.
Minister for Housing and Urban Development Nick Champion said the Boiler House had a proud history and that this development retains those important elements while adapting to the modern era.
“The project further cements Tonsley as not only an innovation hub, but a destination which the entire community can enjoy,” Minister Champion said.
The building’s adaptive reuse is expected to have a multiplier effect, creating dozens of jobs during the construction phase and up to 100 more ongoing across management, operations and brewing, while delivering vibrant amenity that will further enhance Tonsley as a district and entice new businesses, workers and residents to the precinct. It will also provide a venue for real world, commercial experience for students creating a potential pathway to future employment opportunities.
Duxton Pubs – which owns 19 hospitality venues across Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, Yorke Peninsula, and Limestone Coast including the Lion and Cremorne hotels - will run the site under a freehold owner/operator arrangement.
Duxton Pubs Chairman Ed Peter said the Boiler House would become an integral part of the company’s wider operations, allowing the group to centralise staff recruitment, induction training and broader employment pathways.
“Tonsley’s ethos centres around innovation and we want to be innovators in our sector,” Mr Peter said.
“Our goal is to continue to drive significant hospitality jobs growth, and skills and training development opportunities for South Australians.”
As part of this commitment, the Duxton Pubs Group will explore opportunities with Renewal SA’s Works Program to incorporate training and development opportunities for students throughout the project.
Renewal SA General Manager, Project Delivery and Property, Todd Perry said the Boiler House was a unique part of Tonsley’s industrial heritage and that The Duxton Pubs Group had the expertise and know-how to celebrate its past while transforming it into a contemporary meeting place.
“The businesses that make up the Tonsley Innovation District are known for their forward thinking and reimagining of services and products for the betterment of the clients they serve,” Mr Perry said.
“What The Duxton Group has come up with for the Boiler House certainly continues that theme because they will retain the important elements – the raw, utilitarian character of the exposed pipes that complements the historic conversion of the nearby Main Assembly Building (MAB) – and adapt it into a fresh new space that will service a new wave of Tonsley workers, plus students, residents and visitors.”
The venue will neighbour a new retail precinct at Tonsley, following the announcement last month of a $47m commercial and lifestyle project on the western side of the MAB, adjacent to the Boiler House, which will feature a supermarket, specialty retail shops, and rock-climbing gym. Construction of that project, led by Peet Limited, is expected to begin in the new year.
Plans for the Boiler House will now be finalised to secure development approvals, with the venue schedule to be open to the public by mid-2024.