Adelaide’s First Skyscraper to be 23m Taller Than Planned
By David Simmons
A tower valued at $400 million to be situated on the existing Freemasons Hall site in Adelaide’s CBD will now reach 183 metres in height after plans were reworked and an extra $120 million was added to the construction budget.
The South Australian Freemasons have also announced a strategic partnership with family-run developer Pelligra Group to get the build off the ground.
Once completed, the building will be Adelaide’s first-ever skyscraper by current definitions of minimum height requirements. The structure will take the title of Adelaide’s tallest building Crown Plaza Adelaide.
With a budget of $300 million – up from an initial $120 million – the partners will look to have plans for the skyscraper approved by the Freemasons through a ‘Grand Communication’ scheduled for June. Prior to that, planning approvals will be lodged in May.
Plans for the smaller version of the building on North Terrace were approved by Freemasons SA members back in 2021, with the idea behind the property being to ensure a continued legacy and physical presence in Adelaide for the Freemasons – one of the world’s largest non-religious charitable organisations.
According to the organisation, early indications suggest that the Freemasons’ annual donations to non-profit organisations could lift from $2.6 million to more than $5 million once the building is complete.
Current plans for the tower include a three-storey observation deck, 240 new hotel rooms, conference facilities, a business lounge and a wellness retreat. A two-storey sky lobby with all-day dining will greet visitors at the entrance too.
A render of the proposed tower
“The Freemasons have been part of South Australia since its foundation and plan to continue long into the future,” Freemasons Property Trust chairman Henry Davis said.
“We conducted a national and international search for the right partner, and Pelligra was the clear winner because of its significant investment capacity and interest in South Australia, its three generations of experience in development, deep appreciation for heritage, and its long-term commitment to building high-quality developments that will stand the test of time.
“This project will create significant economic impact compared to cost and will be a unique and memorable experience. Keystone tower is poised to become a symbol of Freemasonry and a celebration of the fraternity’s enduring legacy. It will offer a beautiful and meaningful addition to Adelaide’s skyline, symbolising the importance of striving for high moral values and living in service to others.”
Grand Master of Freemasons SA/NT David Booker said maintaining the heritage of the existing Freemasons Hall was of ‘utmost importance’ to the organisation.
However, the Grand Master notes it was discovered in 2020 that the building had extensive concrete cancer. Nevertheless, the ground floor lobby of the skyscraper will retain the grandeur of the rear hall it replaces, with 90 per cent of the floor space to be retained.
In addition, the main building fronting North Terrace will receive an estimated $8 million restoration, retaining all aspects of built heritage and restoring it to its ‘original 1927 glory’.
“The protection of the building’s heritage is paramount to the organisation, and we are dedicated to preserving the appeal and access to the building,” Booker said.
The existing facade of the Freemasons Hall on North Terrace
In addition, the organisation intends on turning the Great Hall into an Adelaide Museum of South Australia’s History (AMoSAH). According to the Freemsasons, the organisation has been ‘working closely’ with the History Trust of SA on a proposal for AMoSAH and talks have been held with relevant government officials to explore constructing the social history museum on North Terrace.
Ross Pelligra, whose development company has a portfolio of more than 1,200 projects across Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, the Philippines and China said the firm was pleased to extend its investment footprint down south.
“We are proud to partner with the Freemasons and contribute to the cultural landscape of South Australia,” Pelligra said.
“The Keystone tower development is an opportunity to create a landmark building inspired by Classical Architecture that will enrich the lives of South Australians and visitors alike by offering a beautiful and meaningful addition to Adelaide’s skyline, symbolising the importance of high moral values and community.”