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24 Sep 2021

$200 Million ‘Biophilic’ Hotel Complex Proposed for Darwin

$200 Million ‘Biophilic’ Hotel Complex Proposed for Darwin

Concerns have been raised regarding the potential encroachment on local Indigenous sacred places and the overdevelopment of Darwin's shoreline as a result of plans for a $200 million hotel and house complex fronting a Darwin beach.

The Gardens, a resort complex at 25 Gilruth Avenue designed by Hachem, would feature a 168-room hotel, 53 serviced apartments, and a 277-space parking lot.

It would be built on a plot of land known as Little Mindil, between the Mindil Beach Casino and the Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, which features architect Beni Burnett's 1938 Burnett House.

A "biophilic" design, centred on subtle layering of elements, is described in the planning documents.

“This principle of cascading design reflects the textures of the ocean and the topography of the gentle grade of the site itself,” states Hachem.

The hotel, seafront villas and serviced apartments, lagoon villas and garden villas would be built around four integrated components with views of Little Mindil Beach, Little Mindil Creek (also known as Casino Creek), and the southern escarpment.

“It is our primary goal to maximize the natural gifts of this special tract of land,” Hachem notes. “Through considered design, we will create a luxury haven that provides guests with their own private outlook, inviting them to bask in these unique and glorious surroundings.”

The oceanfront, however, is a designated sacred place that may have been utilised for burial purposes, and Larrakia Development Corporation chief executive Nigel Browne warned local media that the proposals appeared to intrude on sacred grounds despite discussions with traditional owners.

“Now we’ve gone back and looked at what they’ve actually submitted to the planning authority and the concern is that the provisions for ensuring the integrity of the sacred site areas within that lot and the sacred site that runs the length and breadth of the Mindil beachfront have not been adequately addressed,” he said.

Although no surface findings were discovered during an archaeological investigation conducted as part of the development proposal, historical analysis of the location indicates that “the entire length of Mindil Beach may have been used for burial purposes.”

The project's developers, Arthur Winston Investment and Kita Group, said they'll start an archaeological monitoring programme if they find any prehistoric burials, and they'll continue to interact with traditional owners.

The development proposal is currently on display to the public.