THE Tonsley precinct will be formally opened on Monday at a presentation event for industry investors.
The precinct is gaining momentum with the Siemens building taking shape, food venues opening and Flinders University staff inside their new $120 million building ahead of the first wave of students.
“If you go back a few years when the whole concept of Tonsley Park was being floated it was seen as a bit of a white elephant,” Siemens Australia chief executive Jeff Connolly said.
“I think the cynics have been proved wrong now, you can safely say that.”
Siemens is investing more than $5 million, plus equipment, to establish its Tonsley site which it aims to occupy before mid-year.
The State Government has provided no financial assistance or tax incentives but will work with Siemens on opportunities for education, research and industry collaboration.
Economic Development Board member and chairman of the Tonsley steering committee Terry Burgess said Monday’s event would show investors what had happened over the past couple of years.
“It’s really taking off, it’s quite amazing,” he said.
The TAFE Sustainable Industries Education Centre has had its second annual student intake, Flinders was running and work had begun on the new centre for the SA mineral drill cores library, he said.
Four retail operations — an Ezymart convenience store, a sushi bar, a cafe and a coffee bar — will all be operational from Monday.
The Siemens facility will maintain and research turbines and other equipment, mainly for the resources and energy sector.
It is being developed and constructed by Commercial & General, a national property and funds management business based in SA.
Siemens employs more than 100 people in South Australia. Its Lonsdale plant will close with 25 workers shifting to Tonsley where it aims to double numbers to 50 as work grows.
Mr Connolly believed Siemens would benefit from being in the Tonsley cluster and exposed to cross-fertilisation with the educational institutions and other commercial operators.
Siemens globally has strengths in many sectors, including health care, resources and clean energy — all of which would have a strong presence at Tonsley.
Modern manufacturers make more money from design, engineering and digitalisation than the actual making of products and Tonsley could help South Australia’s transformation, he said.
“It may be a blessing in disguise that SA has been pushed so brutally out of the auto industry,” he said.
“Really, it puts SA on the front end of what needs to be done now to kit out for the future.”
The SA head of Siemens, Adam D’Achille, was excited that the 2013 decision to join Tonsley was nearing.
“Moving from Lonsdale will give us more scope to broaden our business opportunities,” he said.
From Monday, the general public will have access to the centre of the Tonsley site and retail outlets.
A community Open Day is being planned for the near future.