19-storey tower block planned for Crown & Anchor site

The first image has been released of a controversial student housing development proposed for the Crown & Anchor hotel site, showing a 19-storey tower block looming over the heritage-listed live music venue.

Apr 18, 2024, updated Apr 19, 2024
The 19-storey student housing block proposed for the Crown & Anchor site and Grenfell St frontage between Frome and Union streets. Image: Plan SA

The 19-storey student housing block proposed for the Crown & Anchor site and Grenfell St frontage between Frome and Union streets. Image: Plan SA

A Plan SA image of the proposed building was delivered to the Crown & Anchor on Thursday, showing a dark, bulky 19-storey tower block rising over the Grenfell St site between Frome and Union street which is zoned for up to 15-storeys.

The single image handed to the pub for display and public comment from tomorrow shows the proposed tower block as seen from the western side of Grenfell St, across Frome St and looking north-east.

The Crown & Anchor Hotel at the eastern Grenfell St corner can barely be seen in the image. It is curiously obscured by trees and a bus, but appears to show the tower’s eastern side rising immediately above the two-storey, local heritage-listed East End landmark.

While the development bid materially impacts the hotel, the single image provided by state planning authorities does not show whether the building which has hosted live music for more than 30 years is intact, or whether the frontage is just a facade, with everything behind the front and side walls demolished – a common theme in Adelaide CBD development.

Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily

Singapore-based developer Wee Hur Holdings applied in March for “partial demolition and adaptive reuse” of the site at 188 and 196 Grenfell St, which is owned by Adelaide developer Gerry Karidis and Karidis Corporation.

Plan SA says the public can view the plans and have their say on the application at, from Friday April 19 until midnight on May 10, 2023.

Photo: David Simmons/InDaily.

A growing community backlash has greeted the development application since it was lodged in March, sparking a Save The Cranker Facebook page,petition which has attracted nearly 20,000 signatures, appeals to Adelaide City Council and a Greens motion in Parliament for the state government to step in to protect the venue and strengthen heritage laws.

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It has also prompted debate about cultural heritage versus rigid planning laws, and the hypocrisy of Adelaide – Australia’s only UNESCO City of Music – allowing a thriving music venue to be destroyed for development at a time when myriad other CBD music venues are closing due to cost of living pressures.

Musicians and bands from Adelaide and across Australia are also posting photos of themselves with “Save the Cranker” signs.

Bassist Kim Scott from Adelaide band The Mark of Cain. Photo: Save the Cranker/Facebook

Social media reaction to the proposed tower block was swift and included comments such as “This soulless black cube is definitely going to add vibrancy to the city”, to “Brutalist is back! That is appalling” and “Just needs a glowing eye on top of it.”

Another writer suggested it was actually a bad joke by someone “taking the piss”, saying: “This is an insult and typical of developers who are quite happy to say we don’t give a f… about your city, now move out of the way, we have money to make.”

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