Culture shifts shape of Hobart development

20 May 2021

As part of The Urban Developer’s In Focus: Hobart virtual event, David Lee, development director at Riverlee, joined Charles Daoud, director at Traders in Purple, Berry Liberman, co-founder of Small Giants, and Daniel Noble, director at Noble Ventures, for a panel discussion hosted by Adam Di Marco, founder and publisher of The Urban Developer.

MONA founder David Walsh is continuing to shape Hobart, influencing Riverlee’s central precinct design after telling the developers “you can’t build culture”.

Now, other developers are following suit. The shift to community-led projects is gaining traction in Tasmania as developers engage with residents and local groups to contribute to planning, increase sales and overcome the resistance to “mainlanders”.

Riverlee development director David Lee said that although they had a planning permit for a commercial building with more than 20,000sq m they were back in the design phase. “We picked up 7000sq m in the city from about a dozen transactions in 20 years,” Lee said during The Urban Developer In Focus: Hobart webinar.

“We said, ‘Okay here’s three, four, five buildings and this would have a civic place, a cultural heart, it would be $200-250 million development that would become a cultural centre for Hobart’.

“David Walsh [said to us] ‘That’s not how you build culture, that is not a cultural precinct, culture is built by people, it’s built by the city, it’s not built by architects or developers’, that kind of shocked us … it was a bit of a moment where we stopped and had to reflect.

“From there we flipped the masterplan on its head.

“We turned half the site into what we call In The Hanging Garden.

“The buildings will come next but the culture has been built and that’s the hardest part.”

This is an excerpt from a story on The Urban Developer. Read the full article here.


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