Cranker to be demolished except for facade under apartments plan

The entire heritage-listed Crown & Anchor hotel would be demolished leaving only a facade – which would then be “restored to original 1920s form” – under plans for a 19-storey housing block on the landmark East End site.

Apr 19, 2024, updated Apr 19, 2024
The Crown & Anchor hotel would be demolished but its facade would remain as a "heritage" item under plans for a 19-storey student apartment tower. Image: Brown Falconer/Plan SA

The Crown & Anchor hotel would be demolished but its facade would remain as a "heritage" item under plans for a 19-storey student apartment tower. Image: Brown Falconer/Plan SA

Plan SA today published details of the controversial development on its website, revealing that what Singapore developer Wee Hur Holdings called “partial demolition” in its application involves demolishing the entire building and leaving only two walls facing Grenfell and Union streets.

Under plans by Adelaide architects Brown Falconer, there would be “conservation and restoration of remaining facades to original 1920s form” as a sop to the hotel’s heritage aspects, while its gutted shell would be built upon.

The whole site from Frome to Union streets is owned by Adelaide developer Gerry Karidis and Karidis Corporation, which bought the hotel in 2016.

The Crown & Anchor hotel (right of graphic) would be demolished except for two walls. Image: Brown Falconer architects/Plan SA

Plans show the apartment tower would rise above the existing hotel site and cover the entire area between Frome and Union streets and Grenfell St frontage.

The Crown & Anchor hotel would be razed and only its facade left as an apartment block looms above it. Image: Brown Falconer/PlanSA

Image: Brown Falconer/Plan SA

What is now the Crown & Anchor front bar area would become a retail space and/or cafe with adjacent laundry and “waste room” under the plan, with a “Yoga/Dancing Room” and study areas on the first floor.

The building would then comprise more than 700 bedrooms in a range of studio and “queen” rooms over 17 floors.

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A studio apartment in the proposed development on the Crown & Anchor site. Image: Plan SA

Wee Hur Holdings engaged Adelaide’s Dash Architects to prepare a Heritage Impact Statement for the hotel and longstanding live music venue, which won local heritage listing in 1991.

The firm said the hotel’s original built form had undergone various changes and modifications over its more than a century of trading, and backed the new tower plans.

“The proposed new development, while of a notable scale, remains consistent with that envisage for the Zone,” the Dash Architects report said.

“The set out of the new development on the site (above and the sides of the retained sections of the Heritage Place on the Site), maintains these heritage values, providing considered ‘negative join’ interfaces with the historic façades to ensure their overall legibility it retained.

“While acknowledging the proposed development is of a notable larger scale than the Local Heritage listed Crown and Anchor Hotel, the heritage place’s contribution to the historic character has been maintained, and arguably notably enhanced by the proposed retention and conservation of the historic street facades.

“For these reasons the proposed development is not considered to dominate, encroach on or unduly impact on the setting of the Place.”

A Dash Architects Heritage Impact Statement said the apartment tower was unlikely to “dominate, encroach on or unduly impact” on the local heritage site. Image: Plan SA


Value of cultural heritage

The first image of the new development published by InDaily on Thursday prompted widely negative responses on social media.

It comes amid community debate about the value of built and cultural heritage and a UNESCO City of Music allowing a thriving live music venue to be potentially destroyed.

History Trust of South Australia CEO Greg Mackie posted the story on Facebook, with one comment: “Presposterous…”, and #SavetheCranker.

Some people likened the tower to the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.

Others compared the tower to the Borg Cube used by alien cyborgs in Star Trek, whose motto is “Resistance is futile”.

The public can view the plans and make submissions at, from Friday April 19 until midnight on May 10, 2023.

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