Crows choose Thebarton for new ‘world class’ HQ

The Adelaide Football Club has selected Thebarton Oval as the site for its new base, as the state government reveals the cost of an ongoing review into the decision to refuse the Crows’ earlier bid to redevelop the Brompton gasworks.

Aug 24, 2022, updated Aug 24, 2022
Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily, Image supplied Adelaide Football Club/City Collective. Composite image: Tom Aldahn/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily, Image supplied Adelaide Football Club/City Collective. Composite image: Tom Aldahn/InDaily

Crows chairman John Olsen today announced the club had settled on a 9.1-hectare site around Thebarton Oval in Torrensville as the location for the club’s new HQ – ending the club’s years-long search for a new home away from West Lakes.

The club’s proposal includes establishing two ovals, a standalone AFLW facility, an “interactive museum”, café and a new council community hub on the site.

The plans may also include a new skate park, soccer pitch and playground, although this will depend on the state government’s final plans for the North-South Corridor, Olsen said.

An artist’s rendition of the Crows’ proposed Thebarton HQ. Images: Adelaide Football Club/City Collective

The Crows had previously proposed to build a HQ at the old Brompton gasworks but were knocked back by the former Marshall Government, which instead selected Victorian developer MAB Corporation’s $459 million master-planned village proposal.

The Malinauskas Government commissioned an independent review of that decision from US firm AECOM, costing $54,425. The report is behind schedule and its outcome is yet to be announced.

Olsen said the club’s decision to settle on Thebarton followed “many months of consideration and extensive due diligence”.

He touted the benefits of the 9.1 hectare Thebarton site being “30 per cent bigger” than the 5.8 hectare Brompton gasworks and also posing “significantly lower environmental remediation risk”.

An artist’s rendition of the Crows’ proposed Thebarton Oval plans. Image: Adelaide Football Club/City Collective

He also said the scope and extent of what the club could build at Thebarton was aided by recent changes to the state government’s plans for the North-South Corridor, allowing the Crows greater access to the adjacent green space at Kings Reserve.

“It’s a very large parcel of land in the inner-western suburbs, it will enable us over the journey to build not only an oval the size of Adelaide Oval but also a second oval the size of the MCG,” he told reporters today.

“It meets the long-term needs of the Adelaide Football Club, it also creates significant open space for the local community.

“No longer will be there a chain-mesh fence and padlocks [around Thebarton Oval], it will be open to the local community.

“There won’t be any restriction in relation to the area they can access, but for [Crows] training times.”

Olsen said the Thebarton HQ will cost around $75m to $80m but the final figure was difficult to estimate given “where construction costs are going at the moment”.

Asked whether the state government will put money towards the project, Olsen said: “We’ve made a request of government and we wait with bated breath.”

An artist’s rendition of the Crows’ proposed Thebarton HQ at night. Image: Adelaide Football Club/City Collective

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The decision comes before the outcome of an independent review – examining the former Marshall Government’s decision to snub the Adelaide Crows’ bid to redevelop Brompton gasworks in favour of Victorian developer MAB Corporation – is announced.

Labor promised the review before the election, citing “widespread community disappointment” that the Crows proposal was rejected.

The review, being conducted by US firm AECOM, has now been running for 12 weeks, despite Planning Minister Nick Champion initially indicating it would be completed in six to eight weeks.

The review has cost $54,425, a government spokesperson told InDaily.

The state government said the review would continue to progress regardless of the Crows’ decision.

“The State Government welcomes the Adelaide Crows announcement regarding Thebarton and wishes the club all the best as it works towards establishing its new base in the western suburbs,” the spokesperson said.

“The State Government is honouring its election commitment to undertake a review of the former government’s decision regarding the former Brompton Gasworks site.

“Upon coming to government, the Crows advised the government they were keeping their options open and undertaking due dilligence on their new home.

“The State Government advised the Crows it was determined to deliver its election commitment for a review, regardless of where the Crows ultimately landed.”

The Adelaide Football Club and MAB Corporation were among four parties shortlisted by Renewal SA to redevelop the Brompton gasworks.

The AECOM review is examining the master planning and strategy of MAB’s project, the “appropriateness of the methodology and the cost of the remediation strategy”, and it’s consistency with the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and the 20 Year State Infrastructure Strategy.

“The government’s Brompton Gasworks site review is assessing complex issues that remain subject to ongoing review,” the spokesperson said.

“It is expected that a final report will be presented to Government in the near future for its deliberation, with the Planning Minister to respond when Parliament returns.

“The government remains determined to achieve the best possible outcome for South Australians at the former Brompton Gasworks site.”

Parliament is due to return on September 6.

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