The Property Council of Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission on the Draft Concept Plan for Kahlin Compound, Old Darwin Hospital site and Flagstaff Park land.
In general, the Property Council of Australia supports the need for a draft concept plan looking at the Old Darwin Hospital precinct as a whole and the intention to prepare a design brief for an Expressions of Interest process for the potential development of the land. Further, we consider the key elements identified in the draft concept plan to be a suitable basis for more detailed assessment in due course.
However, we consider the subject site to be an outstanding strategic, indeed iconic, site and believe that its future use should be very carefully planned. The Old Darwin Hospital precinct is the last parcel of CBD or near CBD land of significant size available for development and its public sector ownership adds to its significance. It would be short sighted to allow the subject land to be developed piecemeal, for a project that does not substantially benefit the general community or for a project that will not recognise the uniqueness and importance of this location.
In particular, we do not see any reason for the whole of the land to be developed immediately; rather, the land to the south of Kahlin Avenue should be retained for future development of a substantial nature, appropriate to its iconic location and importance. There should be no imperative for development of this land just because the land is there, has been vacant for some 20 years, and can be sold off to increase NT Government revenue at this time.
The Property Council is of the strong view that if there is not an appropriate proposal for a substantial and significant development or if the release of the land and resultant development is unlikely to be financially feasible, then the land south of Kahlin Avenue should not be released at this time. We consider that development of the land north of Kahlin Avenue is suitable for immediate development and that this should be appropriate high rise residential and an expanded heritage precinct as proposed.