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Review into tender process for Brompton Gasworks development finds Crows bid failed to meet criteria

Development of the old Brompton Gasworks site in Adelaide's inner-west to turn it into housing and public green space will go ahead following an independent review into the tender process.

In January, the former state government announced it had selected Melbourne property developer MAB Corporation to develop the 5.8-hectare site over a proposal submitted by the Adelaide Football Club. 

At the time, then-treasurer Rob Lucas said he could not go into detail about why the Crows had missed out. 

The Labor Party made it one of its election promises to review the decision, which it has now done — at a cost of $53,000 — coming to the same conclusion as the previous government.

It has revealed that the Crows' bid to secure the site could not have been successful based on the project's "criteria, weightings, and the focus on commercial considerations". 

"It also indicates the Adelaide Football Club's proposal for open space, entertainment and recreational opportunities may have resulted in a greater strategic and community benefit that may not have been captured in the criteria or weightings at the commencement of the process," Planning Minister Nick Champion told parliament. 

The government said it will not be releasing the review until all commercial negotiations with MAB Corporation have been finalised but it is unclear if it will be released in full.

"Due to probity and commercial sensitivities contained in the AECOM review, it has been recommended to government that the government wait until all commercial negotiations with MAB Corporation have concluded before releasing the AECOM review," Mr Champion said. 

He said the negotiations had seen the project's affordable housing component increased from 15 per cent to at least 17 per cent. 

"Undertaking this review and forging ahead with more extensive negotiations has ensured the community will be getting a better deal through this development," Mr Champion said. 

"Renewal SA is negotiating to deliver a project that delivers a greater percentage of affordable housing, green and open space, and tree canopy."

Opposition labels review 'smoke and mirrors'

Opposition Leader David Speirs said the review "was just another populist activity from Peter Malinauskas" in the lead-up to the election. 

"This was a way of stirring up angst and trouble with Crows supporters," he said.

"Once again we see just smoke and mirrors from Labor, a bit of noise over here instead of getting on and governing the state and this cost $53,000 in this instance." 

Mr Speirs called for the government to make the whole review public. 

"Let's be transparent about this," he said.

"Let's find out what the review said because obviously the review hasn't said very much at all with regard to the previous process." 

In August,  the Crows announced they would build their new home base at Thebarton Oval, which is larger than the Brompton site. 

Their new 9.1-hectare site is set to have two ovals, one the size of Adelaide Oval and the other similar to the MCG, as well as an indoor pitch nearly twice the size of the one at West Lakes. 

The project is expected to cost at least $75 million with a goal to be completed by 2025. 

The Crows had been looking to move their headquarters closer to the city since AFL games moved to Adelaide Oval in 2014.

They had previously been played at Football Park in West Lakes, where the Crows are still based and where they have a fan facility called the Crows Shed.

In 2019, the club proposed moving to a new facility to replace the ageing Adelaide Aquatic Centre but pulled out as COVID-19 hit its finances.

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