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Open warehouse space with people seated at coloured benches, playing table tennis, accessing a pod for quiet work, and ordering food and drink from a coffee shop.

Tonsley Project Director Daniel Redden of Renewal SA (which manages Tonsley on behalf of the state government) was presented with the KONE Award for Best Development Innovation at the gala awards ceremony held in Sydney last week.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said Tonsley was a “technological test bed” that was “evolving from a manufacturing site into a collaborative working and living space for students, researchers and businesses.”

“South Australia’s future hinges on its ability to create jobs and attract more people to the state,” he said. “By cultivating high-value manufacturing, leading-edge research and emerging industries, Tonsley shows how innovative development can drive jobs, investment and economic opportunity.”

A former Mitsubishi car manufacturing site, Tonsley is now home to more than 30 businesses, including the Flinders University College of Science and Engineering and TAFE SA. Over 1300 people are employed on the site – more than when the last car rolled off the production line in 2008.

The 61-hectare project 10 kilometres south of Adelaide started in March 2012 and is expected to be complete by 2027. This year, Peet Limited began building Tonsley Village, which will one day house 1,200 residents in 850 dwellings.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr Redden thanked the PCA and in particular, PCA SA Executive Director Daniel Gannon, as well as Renewal SA staff who have worked on the project.

“I would like to thank the Tonsley project team, both past and present for their hard work and commitment to delivering on the vision for the innovation district,” Mr Redden said.

“I would also like to thank the consultant team, who has largely been unchanged over the last seven years, and all of the businesses, university staff and students, builders and developers involved in this iconic project.”

Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) Director, Giulio Altarmura, said RLB provided cost management and quantity surveying services to help transform Tonsley from a disused site into a thriving innovation district.

“In a hotly-contested category with 10 other finalists, Tonsley was a worthy winner for its visionary master plan designed to drive innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

Tonsley has won other national awards, including two categories in the national Good Design Awards and the National Architecture Awards, plus a national Urban Design Institute of Australia award for excellence.

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