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Catalyst Project


Council’s 2012 Town Centre Strategy has long made clear the intent to inject greater activity and have a more significant civic presence in the heart of the town centre.

A town square has also been long advocated by the community, a place where events and everyday gatherings may take place. Like all successful town squares, they must be framed by activity, which is why Council has set out to not only integrate community facilities adjacent but to also seek private investment to further generate activity to add vibrancy to the space.

With substantial population growth occurring, Council is looking to reinforce the primacy of Mount Barker’s town centre, with a development that stimulates local employment and investment.

A key objective of this project is to deliver the new community facilities in such a way that the net financial position of Council is consistent with existing – ensuring the structure of the deal allows for additional revenue/contributions to off-set additional costs associated with the upgraded community spaces.

Competitive Process

Prompted by private sector interest, Council commenced a national Expressions of Interest process to formally invite innovative responses to the opportunity to develop within the Mount Barker town centre.

This once in a generation opportunity sought for the market to respond with suitable landholdings in the CBD that could support potential for a vibrant mix of both public and private uses. This includes provision for Council facilities such as civic office, library, innovation hub and town square serviced by appropriate car parking facilities.

Fundamental to the objective of this project, proponents were strongly encouraged to consider complementary mixed uses including retail, commercial, hotel accommodation and medium density residential uses to drive local employment and economic outcomes.

Mount Barker District Council engaged Strategic Property Consultants, the Alinea Group, to lead the competitive process, whilst also engaging Nexia-Edwards Marshall to provide probity advice throughout.

Council received several high calibre submissions as part of the process, all of which reinforced the attractive nature of investment within Mount Barker.

Council has now concluded the competitive phase of the project and is pleased to announce that Burke Urban Investments has been successful in being selected as its preferred development partner.

Burke Urban's successful proposal responded to Council’s core objectives of generating increased local employment and creating new integrated community facilities and spaces.

The successful proposal responded best to Council’s core objectives of generating increased local employment and creating new integrated community facilities and spaces.

Burke Urban Investments, formed by respected South Australian business leaders Kym Burke and Con Tragakis is part of Award Winning Burke Urban Group. Burke Urban have enjoyed a long association with development in Mount Barker, initially with the prestigious Waterford project on Springs Road and more recently the award winning Newenham Estate on Flaxley Road, which is a short walk or ride to the Town Centre.

The Proposal

The location of the proposal is the large vacant, and long underutilised site measuring 12,000m2, located adjacent to Hutchinson Street and Morphett Street, and the tree-lined Druids Avenue to the north.

These public facilities include a new library, innovation hub and civic office, all of which will front onto a new community town square. Just as importantly, these public facilities are set to trigger significant private investment, with the proposal also including over 4000sqm of office space, a hotel, residential units and a market shed that combines vibrant retailing for artisans and food and beverage outlets.

Council’s existing library will remain open until such a time as a new facility is developed, with the future of that building subject to further review by Council. The existing building provides opportunity for new employment uses to activate the space.

What’s Next

Council will now commence more detailed feasibility around Burke Urban’s proposal, including the drafting of a Heads of Agreement between the two parties. Community input is fundamental to the success of this project, with formal consultation set to occur in early to mid-2021.

More Information

For more information on the project, please contact Luke Gray, Manager Strategic Projects and Planning Policy via telephone on 8391 7269 or via email at

Media Release - Mount Barker Catalyst Project - 2 December 2020

Subject Land - Mount Barker Town Square

Mount Barker Catalyst Project - Town Centre - Artist Impression