Opinion piece: Breaking ‘unconventional’ new ground in Adelaide’s CBD
6 August 2019
What makes a community? Or better yet, what makes a strong community where people of all ages and abilities can flourish and live the best lives that they can?
Those were the questions our organisation – Uniting Communities – challenged ourselves with several years ago, when we pondered how to do more with the inner-city site on the corner of Franklin and Pitt streets in Adelaide’s CBD, that we have occupied for more than 130 years.
Now, on 6 August, our new and exciting evolution in community living will open its doors.
While our new building is impressive in many ways, from its commanding architectural presence to high specification environmental design, we know that it’s what’s inside that really matters. A $100 million 20-storey ‘vertical village’, ‘U City’ tells a compelling and unconventional story about the way we believe communities can – and should be – created, as ‘united’ communities.
We have a site that sits in the vibrant heart of Adelaide, on the doorstep of the much-loved Central Markets, adjacent to Her Majesty’s Theatre and just a stone’s throw to King William Street, Rundle Mall and all the best that central Adelaide has to offer.
When we looked across the broad range of our services and the community that we’re proud to support, we started to ask questions like ‘Why shouldn’t purpose-built and state-of-the-art disability housing be available in the middle of the CBD?’ Why couldn’t high-rise retirement living also be in the same building?
And what about purpose-built and adaptable short-term accommodation for people living with disability, when they’re looking for somewhere to stay after a night out in the city.
Indeed, why couldn’t a development include all of this, plus premium office accommodation, first-class event spaces and exciting retail offerings? Why couldn’t one development do all of that?
We thought one could … and U City does.
U City is South Australia at its creative and cutting-edge best, redefining urban design and living for Adelaide and the world. Forty-one retirement living apartments enjoy the top six floors of U City with breathtaking skyline views.
There are also 21 purpose-built specialist disability, one and two-bedroom apartments fitted with the latest start-of-the-art assisted technology, offering residents maximum control and independence. There are also 18 specialist apartments, designed as bespoke short-stay and ‘hotel’ accommodation, equipped for people living with disability. And we’re also proud to have integrated a state-of-the-art adult changing facility for anyone living with a disability, who needs toilet and changing facilities in the inner city.
U City also includes a purpose-built function and conference facility with a fully serviced commercial kitchen and two floors of A Grade, 5 Star Nabers rated commercial office space.
And 43 Franklin Street will be home to a new culinary and retail precinct for Adelaide’s Market District with the establishment of a boutique Goodwill outlet, and new food and beverage options.
We’ll also be unveiling specially commissioned art and sculpture pieces from leading SA artists which will feature throughout the building’s various internal and external public spaces.
And we’re proud of our award-winning design and our status as Adelaide’s ‘greenest designed’ building.
Importantly, U City will also be the new home of Uniting Communities extensive range of social services including vital community and consumer law services, youth health and medical clinics, allied health services, along with financial, personal and family counselling providers, mental health and alcohol and drug support services.
We were determined that our clients accessing these essential services would experience the same high level of amenity and warm and personalised service, that everyone in U City will enjoy.
Regardless of whether you live or work in the building, we’re inviting everyone to explore and use the public spaces, the meeting spaces, the Community Space on the third level, and the adjacent Penaluna Place that we’re busy reinvigorating.
We want everyone to feel that they can be part of our new community.
U City is our gift to the South Australian community and we warmly invite you to come and visit and see for yourself.
Simon Schrapel AM