Vacant bus station site earmarked for Adelaide CBD’s first build-to-rent project

Vacant bus station site earmarked for Adelaide CBD’s first build-to-rent project

Artist's impression of the Tapangka development in Adelaide's CBD

A long-vacant Adelaide CBD site that once housed the Franklin Street bus terminal is poised for a major mixed-use development that is set to be home to 1,000 people by the end of the decade.

The City of Adelaide, which currently owns the site and has been using it as a temporary overflow carpark for the Central Market, has chosen the state government’s urban redevelopment arm Renewal SA to deliver the twin-tower project, which will comprise 392 apartments, a 208-room hotel, office space, retail space and a food and beverage precinct.

Renewal SA plans to partner with a private developer to bring the project to fruition to meet the city council’s objectives of bringing higher-density residential development to the CBD to cater for a broad demographic.

More than a third of the residential apartments will be dedicated to affordable housing forming the first build-to-rent (BTR) apartments in the Adelaide CBD.

The development, to be named Tapangka, will comprise two towers – one of 18 storeys and the other 26 storeys – to be developed on the 6,850sqm site located at 111-129 Franklin Street.

The 26-storey east tower will have four levels of commercial space while eight levels above that will be dedicated to a hotel. The upper levels will deliver 196 apartments dedicated to the BTR model.

The west tower will comprise 196 apartments which will be available for sale or rent. The City of Adelaide says at least 137 affordable studio, one and two-bedroom apartments will be split across the two mixed-used towers.

A feature of the development is a third, low-rise civic building that is designed to be 'a centre of entertainment, culture and community'. 

Adelaide’s Lord Mayor Dr Jane Lomax-Smith sees the Tapangka project as a catalyst for accelerating investment in the city.

“Adelaide needs more affordable housing, so I’m pleased this plan includes 35 per cent affordable housing, more than double the 15 per cent requirement – as well as build-to-rent apartments and an opportunity for investment in community space,” Lomax-Smith says.

“There will also be space for retail and hospitality outlets, and a mixed-use development, which will no doubt enhance and support the much-loved Market District.”

The temporary parking currently provided by the site for the Central Market is expected to remain in place as construction progresses on the $400 million Market Square development which is expanding the existing precinct.

Development of the former bus station site is not planned to start until early 2026 after Market Square is complete, with the first residents expected to move in by 2028. The full project is earmarked for completion in 2029.

Renewal SA is yet to announce its preferred partner to deliver the project.

“This is a significant economic opportunity and a chance to set a new benchmark for inner city living so we need to enlist the most experienced and expert development partners from private industry, the not-for-profit sector, other levels of government and our First Nations people and local communities to participate in this project,” Renewal SA’s chief executive Chris Menz says.

“Our key focus is to drive the long-term sustainability and prosperity of our capital and our state, and this is a substantial chance to revitalise a beloved part of our city by creating a thriving, multi-functional precinct that delivers high-quality outcomes across a mix of housing, retail and commercial uses.”

The Property Council of Australia has welcomed the development, with South Australian executive director Bruce Djite noting that ‘activating infill sites for residential property within the CBD will support and further improve Adelaide’s vibrancy’.

“Population growth is critical if we are to capitalise on our economic prospects and will naturally support local business and make use of existing infrastructure,” Djite says.

“It is exciting to see that this development will include a significant build-to-rent component, a sector that is set to take off in South Australia, and one that will support an increase in the supply of rental properties so greatly needed in Adelaide.”

Tapangka is expected to generate more than 1,300 jobs and contribute more than $161 million of gross value add to the South Australian economy.

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