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Mount Gambier’s heritage-listed Oatmill Precinct to begin $1 million redevelopment

Mount Gambier’s State Heritage listed Oatmill Precinct is about to undergo a $1 million Public Realm redevelopment being reborn as The Mills.

All visuals: Das Studio

Mount Gambier’s State Heritage listed Oatmill Precinct is about to get a major facelift, being reborn as The Mills.

Following various initial upgrades to the site, the $1 million Public Realm works of The Mills redevelopment will commence in late January 2022.

With preparatory works having been completed in the background over the past 12 months, all is now ready for the new Public Realm works kicking off with the Percy Street forecourt.

Included in the new design is a new 300 m² pavilion structure with translucent roofing and interactive lighting which will be added to the forecourt. Along with this, a new undercover outdoor dining area for use by the lower level of The Oatmeal Factory (formerly CJ’s Steakhouse) will be built.

A new hospitality venue is earmarked to take occupation of this space following the completion of works in April.

Now three years since ownership of the State Heritage listed precinct changed hands, Oatmill Holdings are excited to see their vision start to really take shape.

Co-owner of Oatmill Holdings Mark Balnaves said he is excited for the development to begin.

“We are committed to investment in the regions and believe Mt Gambier is poised to continue its recent strong economic growth after major infrastructure upgrades at the airport and in civic facilities,” Mark said.

“We have received great support from Council and look forward to welcoming new businesses into the precinct in areas like hospitality and retail as well as providing an historic option for commercial office space.

“With a master plan approved, we can move quickly to tailor internal fitouts to individual tenant requirements.”

After working on the complex project for more than two years, the project’s lead Architect Dino Vrynios of Das Studio is looking forward to see the precinct come back to life.

“The history of the site and its incredible buildings have such an immense value – it has been tremendous privilege for our team to reimagine and reactivate The Mills,” Dino said.

“We have adopted a ‘light touch’ approach wherever possible to ensure any interventions are in keeping with the existing context and endeavoured to provide improved accessibility and protection from the weather for all year-round use.”

The project underwent a rigorous approvals process with the project’s proponents, expert heritage consultants and council staff working together closely to create an environment for mutual success between all stakeholders.

City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM reinforced that it is pleasing to see such a significant investment in this project.

“It is exciting to see this investment and to add new elements to this important historical site in our city,” Mayor Martin said.

“Creating new public spaces shows what can happen with creativity and a willingness to work sensitively through sometimes complex heritage issues.

“It is also a measure of confidence in our local economy and community, building on recent investments such as City of Mount Gambier’s Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre and other local developments.”

Dino said stage 2 works will see the creation of Mills Lane, a raised platform walkway that will connect Mitchell Street through to the Hedley Street Carpark.

“Two of the main considerations for this project have been working sensitively with the Heritage fabric and modifying the various levels across the site to provide access to upper levels of buildings as well as compliant accessibility to external areas generally,” Dino said.

“By adopting a raised walkway, we have overcome these constraints and created a fully accessible site, but also enabled the introduction of planting and greenery throughout Mills Lane to provide a new amenity to the precinct.

“We see this laneway becoming a bustling hub of activity with a variety of offerings for the community and business on site.”

Locally based contractor Kennett Builders were successful with their submission to be the builder for the project and are finalising preparations before major construction works start later this month.

You can find out more information about the project and the history of the site through the following link: www.themillsmtgambier.com.au

Any interested parties can also download information packs about the spaces available and register their interest for a walkthrough through the website above.

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