Adaptive ruse - rejuvenating city buildings

If elected in 2018, a State Liberal Government will make it much easier for many CBD buildings to be rejuvenated.

Rejuvenating City Buildings

The Adelaide CBD has a record level of vacant office space and empty buildings.

The Labor Government has failed to stimulate growth in the CBD by encouraging the rejuvenation of unused or under-utilised buildings as a priority. Labor has also failed to deliver its 2014 election commitment to have every building on North Terrace open for business by 2017.

Under the provisions of the current Building Code, upgrading and reactivating existing buildings is often cost-prohibitive as such development has to comply with the same requirements as if it is being newly constructed.

Secondary building stock (C and D Grade) accounts for 32 per cent of building space in the Adelaide CBD. This is much more than in Sydney (15.1%), Melbourne (15.2%), Brisbane (13%) and Perth (2.7%).

Adelaide’s D-Grade building stock has a vacancy rate of almost 21 per cent, the highest ever, while almost 18 per cent of C-Grade building stock is vacant - the highest in 12 years.

The Labor Government has been content to allow these buildings to remain empty, dilapidated and under-utilised.

It was eight months after the Liberals introduced our adaptive reuse initiative that Labor released for consultation a replica adaptive reuse policy.

The State Liberals Plan

If elected in 2018, a State Liberal Government will make it much easier for many CBD buildings to be rejuvenated.

Our adaptive reuse policy will breathe new life into vacant buildings and increase property values.

We will provide for a ministerial override of Building Code restrictions on the adaptive reuse of buildings constructed before 1980.

Our initiative will cut the red-tape burden associated with giving a new purpose to an existing office building. It will make redevelopment quicker and less costly, stimulating growth and allowing businesses to focus on creating more jobs.

This is one example of red tape that, once reduced, can make a real difference.

The current Building Code provisions are a barrier to redeveloping older buildings. They are designed for new building structures. They are not tailored for the adaptive re-use and upgrading of older and heritage properties.

Owners of heritage buildings in particular have cited this red-tape as making their adaptive use unviable. While a heritage building is attractive, it is being wasted if left empty or under-utilised.

Adelaide has some great examples of adaptive reuse in the city, including Electra House and 2 King William Street - great vibrant projects, and we want to see more.

Our heritage assets must be more than empty shells. They need to be accessible places that are enjoyed and given a second life through adaptive and sympathetic upgrading.

You can read the full policy document here