The state government has entered into a contract to purchase the former West End Brewery site at Thebarton, with a vision to deliver a world-class, mixed-use precinct in Adelaide’s inner northwest.
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About the project
The state government has entered into a contract to purchase the former 8.4-hectare West End Brewery at Thebarton from Lion Beer Wine & Spirits Pty Ltd (Lion). Settlement is expected in December 2023.
Renewal SA will act as master developer to create a mixed-use community, targeting 1,000 new homes and incorporating at least 20 per cent affordable housing.
There will be significant opportunities for commercial, hospitality, retail and government tenancies.
Further benefits from the high-level vision for the former brewery site include:
- creation of an estimated 4,000 FTE jobs during construction peaking at 1,200 per year, plus approximately 187 new ongoing retail and hospitality jobs
- investment of around $1 billion in public and private construction and development value over the life of the project
- significant areas of public open space as part of an enhanced River Torrens linear park, incorporating the State Heritage-listed Riverbank Garden
- continuous celebration of the site’s history and heritage with the possible adaptive reuse of high-profile heritage buildings such as the Walkerville Brewhouse, and activation of the area around Colonel William Light’s first Adelaide home, as well as recognition of Kaurna culture.
Renewal SA will commence detailed master-planning in early 2024 with civil works to follow. Construction is set to start in 2025 with the first residents moving in by 2027. A detailed sales and marketing campaign with be launched in due course.
Adoption of a government-led model will unlock widespread opportunities for private sector participation at various stages, including throughout planning, design, civil works and building and construction activities.
Stakeholders and community
As part of its presale preparations, Lion lodged an application for a Code Amendment to rezone the land to a combination of Urban Corridor (Boulevard) and Open Space, which is currently being assessed. If approved, it will allow for a myriad of future uses. The site is currently predominantly zoned for Strategic Employment.
Renewal SA will build on the consultation undertaken during the current Code Amendment process and commence further community and stakeholder engagement in 2024.
Renewal SA will incorporate and celebrate First Nations culture as part of its delivery approach for the site and will engage the Kaurna community as part of its commitment to reconciliation and to ensure Culture and Country are appropriately interwoven into the project.
Heritage and culture
The West End Brewery closed in June 2021, marking the end of 135 years of brewing operations on the famed site. Beer was first brewed there in 1886 as the Torrenside Brewery.
There are areas of heritage significance on the site and thorough consideration will be given to preserve and highlight historic structures, which include:
- Walkerville Brewhouse (including Copper Kettle, currently in storage)
- footings of Colonel William Light’s cottage
- Riverbank Garden.
The remnants of Colonel William Light’s homestead were discovered during demolition works at the old West End Brewery following its closure in 2020. The footings have been preserved in line with advice provided by conservation specialists, International Conservation Services, which has worked in consultation with archaeologists and Heritage SA.
The masterplan will feature the brewery’s former Electricity Transformer building and the plaque depicting the site of Colonel Light’s cottage (currently in storage), which are Local Heritage Places.
The much-loved Riverbank Christmas lights display, located on the south bank of the River Torrens, will also be retained. The event, which continues to attract approximately 300,000 visitors annually, is currently under the custodianship of the City of West Torrens – with that arrangement expected to continue.