The former preferred leaseholder of the now for sale Boiler House at Adelaide’s Tonsley Innovation District say they are keen to purchase the building but potentially no longer see its future as a brewery.

Last week we reported that the 1960s built Boiler House – that serviced Tonsley’s former car manufacturing industry – was up for sale after the State Government’s land agency Renewal SA’s multi-year lease negotiations with Kidd Retail Group (KRG) had fallen through. KRG – an Adelaide-based building development company – had planned to spend $3 million to turn the Boiler House into a second brewpub for the Lady Burra Brewhouse business they operate.

But KRG’s co-owner Steven Kidd told Beer & Brewer that a combination of COVID-19-induced business uncertainty and what he felt was an insufficient Renewal SA budget to renovate the Boiler House were why they went cold on the original 2018 lease agreement. In turn Renewal SA concluded the agreement and announced last week the building and some adjacent lands were for sale and that they were targetting the sale towards a hospitality business – such as a brewpub.

“(Renewal SA) had a budget in mind for what it would cost to remove asbestos and get it compliant for a food and hospitality venue. It was very lean,” Mr Kidd said.

“Coupled with (the hospitality trade) going very quiet when the pandemic hit we reevaluated everything from the Group’s perspective – and thought ‘is this the right time to be doing this?’ We jointly decided to pull the pin and put our energy into (the existing Lady Burra Brewhouse in Adelaide’s CBD). To invest a few million dollars in a brewery at this stage, I’m not sure there would be many that would do that in this climate.”

With over $100,000 already spent on architectural drawings and other plans Mr Kidd said KRG intends to make an expression of interest to buy the Boiler House before the deadline closes. If they could purchase it “for the right price” Mr Kidd said he could see potential in a multi-faceted hospitality venture on the site.

“Something like a Grounds of Alexandria-style place – where you have got a cool space with different offers within the one precinct – that could really work. We’ve got a number of different partners throughout Australia that bring a lot of skills in this space to the table.”

For sale is approximately 3,000 square metres of land, which includes 920 square metres of internal space. The Boiler House is part of the Tonsley Innovation District that has become a new business and residential hub since its days as an industrial area. The site is close to a new train station, Flinders University and TAFE SA as well as the new Tonsley Village residential development to the north, which at completion will house more than 1,600 new residents. In addition, construction has already commenced on a new wetland and greenway while there is a proposal to build a retail precinct and supermarket at Tonsley.

Expressions of interest are being taken by CBRE and the EOI period closes on Thursday 6 May 2021 at 2.00pm (ACDT).

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