Council purchase of LeCornu vacant site ending 30-year saga of failed developments

One of the many proposals that never materialised for the former LeCornu site in O'Connell Street, North Adelaide, bought in 2017 by the Adelaide City Council. 

A 30-year saga over the former LeCornu store site in O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, took a hopeful turn with Adelaide City Council buying the vacant land from the Makris Group in 2017.

In 2016, a $200 million luxury residential, retail and Sheraton hotel was announced for site by the Makris Group – but that collapsed the following year.
This continued the long history of failed projects:

1989: 1.6ha Le Cornu Furniture store, in the retail family for 134 years, sold to merchant bank Tricontinental (Trikon) and Oberdan family’s Kellyvale Group. Plans approved by city council for a $40 million shopping centre and townhouse development.

1990: Kellyvale take full ownership after Trikon’s financial collapse.

1991: Planning Commission rejects complex despite modified version approved.

1992: Oberdan Group reveal plans for a $22 million retail complex1993: State Government strips Adelaide City Council of control of site after months of bitter debate.

1993: Contentious plans approved by Planning Commission after developers’ appeal.

1993: State government gives final approval despite claims from North Adelaide Residents Group, led by Susan Clearihan, now a city councillor, they were not consulted.

1993: Residents and companies, including Foodland, launch SA-first Supreme Court challenge.

1994: Unprecedented class action dismissed by Justice Trevor Olsson. Appeal dismissed by Full Court of the Supreme Court.

1995: Demolition begins on site’s old buildings after months of wrangling.

1997: State Government announces area will be rezoned from a residential/commercial precinct to a predominantly commercial area.

1997: New $15 million project including group of four boutique cinemas and underground car
park proposed by Wallis Theatres and Kellyvale holdings.

1997: Mancorp Holdings headed by developers Theo Maras and Bill Manos launch legal appeal against council’s approval, arguing project exceeded building heights.

1998: Oberdan family’s Kellyvale Group sells site to Wallis Theatres Group.

2000: O’Connell St Traders’ lodge application with the city to establish temporary carpark.

2001: Makris Group buys site from Wallis Cinemas after council drops bid for land.

2005: Makris group unveils $100m luxury complex hotel, retail shops, apartments,

2007: State Government fast tracks plan, takes planning control from Adelaide City Council and gives it major project status.

2010: Con Makris describes saga as “biggest disgrace in Adelaide’s history” as it demolition.

2010: Makris group wins two-year extension for substantial work to start.

2011: Luxury complex plans scrapped because of global financial crisis.

2011: Deemed “catalyst” site under new state government planning laws meaning it does not have any height restrictions.

2012:  Property developer Lang Walker and Makris announce joint venture for site.

2013: Mr Makris airs frustration over delays and threatens to develop alone. Mr Walker walks away from joint venture plan.

2014: $80 million proposal from city councillors Sandy Wilkinson and Mark Hamilton for council build a public square, carpark and luxury apartments.

2014: Makris claims he will scuttle plans for a Glenelg-to-Kangaroo Island ferry if he fails to win development approval for the site.

2014: Issue dominates city elections amid calls to compulsory acquire site. Mr Makris unveils new $200 million eight-building development.

2017: $200 million luxury residential, retail and Sheraton hotel development plan collapses.

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