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A BOLD vision has been unveiled to build a new railway station and tourism precinct in the heart of Alice Springs.
Early concept plans include a six-storey hotel with a rooftop restaurant and planetarium.
Expressions of interest to develop the site in Whittaker Street opposite McDonald’s will open next Friday.
Chief Minister Adam Giles told the Centralian Advocate he wants to see commercial development go ahead to “breathe new life” into Alice Springs.
“My Government is committed to releasing land across the Territory for residential and commercial development to generate jobs and stimulate the economy,” Mr Giles said.
“This potential new development in Whittaker Street is an exciting opportunity to breathe new life into Alice Springs, including a new railway station to bring tourists into the centre of town.”
The concept plans include residential accommodation, commercial and retail space.
“We are keen to hear what developers might be interested in this property and what ideas they have for this prime real estate,” Mr Giles said.
“We have an open mind about the form this project could ultimately take, but it certainly presents a chance to transform a key site right in the heart of Alice and I look forward to seeing what options are proposed.”
The site comprises government land and property owned by Genesee and Wyoming along the rail corridor.
“We want to work in partnership with the private sector to try and get this project off the ground,” Mr Giles said.
“By collaborating with the adjacent land owner, Genesee and Wyoming, the development potential of the site is greatly enhanced.”
Expressions of interest open next Friday and will remain open for 10 weeks.
Tourism Central Australia general manager Stuart Ord welcomed the proposal.
Mr Ord said about 40,000 people arrive in Alice Springs by train each year.
“I think it’s really positive,” he said.
“The best cities in the world have their railway stations in the centre of the city or on the edge.
“First impressions are so important and proximity to the CBD will help reinvigorate the town.”
Project director of the proposed Melanka development, Dean Osborne, said the Government’s vision would not affect the viability of his company’s plans.
“We support any development which adds value to the tourism industry,” he said.
“The concept of moving The Ghan closer into the CBD and providing some tourism accommodation will benefit Alice Springs.”
This article first appeared on www.ntnews.com.au
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