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Freemasons Want Adelaide’s First Skyscraper to Be Tourist Draw

The Freemasons are planning to submit a proposal for the construction of Adelaide’s inaugural skyscraper. This project, which could be initiated within the next three months, would necessitate the demolition of the State Heritage-listed “Great Hall” located at the rear of the Freemasons’ North Terrace headquarters.

The proposed $400 million “Keystone” tower is expected to become a major tourist attraction for Adelaide, encouraging visitors to extend their stay in the city. The 183-meter-tall building will feature a 240-room hotel, a three-story public viewing platform, and the new Adelaide Museum of South Australian History (AMOSAH), backed by the History Trust of South Australia.

The Freemasons’ Grand Lodge, constructed in 1927 and added to the State Heritage Register in 1984, has seen several development attempts in the past. The current proposal has faced opposition from heritage conservationists, particularly due to concerns about the building’s height and the potential loss of heritage.

The Freemasons argue that the proposed development is necessary to offset their debt, including the annual maintenance costs of $350,000 to $500,000 due to the building’s deteriorating condition. The estimated cost of restoring the building is around $8 million.

While acknowledging the heritage concerns, the Freemasons believe that the new development will enable them to restore and maintain not only the new tower but also other heritage sites. The organization has consulted extensively with its members about the proposed development, and a vote will be held in early June to decide whether to proceed with the plans. A public consultation is also planned for July 1.

If approved, the Keystone Tower would be the first in Adelaide to exceed 150-meters in height, the generally accepted definition of a skyscraper. This comes after a separate plan by a Sydney developer for a 180-meter-tall skyscraper was approved last September.


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