Building Re-Use & Strategy

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Initiative Title: Building Re-Use & Strategy
Category: Planning Initiatives

This Building Re-Use initiative is being managed by a local resident Lubo Kulisev; a  specialist in heritage architecture and administration of health care complexes.    This initiative is in the earliest of stages in evolution, so the content expressed here remains Work-in-Progress.   The initial objective of this initiative is to consider the potential re-use of certain existing buildings on the Manly Hospital site.   The determination of this re-use potential is driven by community preferences and shaped by the “envelope” available for building, as it relates to  construction possible after the closure of Manly Hospital in November 2017:-

  • Contamination Assessments
  • Zoning restrictions and Re-Zoning opportunities, like “inclusionary zoning”
  • Heritage Considerations
  • Height Restrictions
  • State Significance Design (SSD regulations)
  • Floor Space Ratios (FSR)
  • Local Environment Plan (LEP)
  • Setback Restrictions
  • Existing Infrastructure provisions like plumbing, water supply, sewage, electricity and gas supplies, backup power supplies, heating, telecommunications, lighting, security, etc.

Initial internal and external assessments of all the on-site buildings suggest that 12 of the 36 existing Manly Hospital Buildings (shown in the diagram above) are potential candidates for their re-use as part of an overall building architecture master plan (Structure Plan).  The external and internal site assessments were undertaken under the auspice of NSW Health.   These assessments lead to the conclusion that there are several existing buildings (12 in total) that could potentially be re-use, hollowed-out and refurbished to delivering some of the style of health care facilities the broader Manly community would prefer for the Future of the Manly Hospital site.  

The Minster for Health (Brad Hazzard) has authorised us to use the displayed Manly Hospital Evacuation Plans on each floor of the 12 buildings’ floor plan as a mechanism for assessing how an arrange of futuristic generic self-contained unit floor plan might align.  The purpose of this exercise was to determine how the existing building floor plans might support the layout typically required for some of the proposed Health Care resident uses (like Aged Care).   These generic designs were retro-fitted within the context of the main structural walls on each floor of these building – designs influenced and shaped by the community preferences for particular resident types and their commonalities and uniqueness.  

The objective here is to engage and consult with with the broader Manly (NB) Community on further shaping of these retro designs.  The initial trial was directed at the potential use of:-

  • the South Wing buildings for Aged Care and
  • the East Wing for Addiction Rehabilitation, Men and Women’s Refuge

Development Project Managers, Heritage Architects and PR Social Networking specialists are sought as volunteers to provide additional input to this process.   While several have already expressed interest, more are sought, together with more extensive general feedback from the broader (NB) Manly Community.

Intent in considering the Re-Use of some existing buildings

There are some 35 separate buildings on the 6.2 hectare Manly Hospital site.  These buildings were not developed as part of some master plan, but added to over time by a process of osmosis.  Building extensions and new standalone buildings were driven by broadening patient needs, population growth and hospital administration.  Recent examinations, of the external and internal condition of all the buildings, reflected a committed to a “run-down” strategy, contained to essential maintenance only.  This has been especially evident since the decision 10 years ago to close Manly Hospital and the advent of the new level 5 Hospital being built at Frenches Forest.  The buildings are known to be contaminated by the likes of asbestos and stricken by other concerns (like lead), contaminants (like diesel) often associated with a hospital that has been in full operation for over 100 years.

Most pundits agree that the simplest and most cost effective strategy is to simply demolish all existing buildings and build an entirely new fit-for-purpose Health Care complex.  However, there are several community-driven justifications that warrant consideration be given to the possibility of re-using some existing buildings:-

  • The “speed to market” in filling some of the more urgent health care gaps that currently exist across the Manly (Northern Beaches) health care in a cost-effective manner
  • The close alignment of existing South Wing hospital patient care facilities with that of the desired Aged Care facility
  • The close alignment of East Wing mental health care with the needs of Addiction Rehabilitation and Men & Women’s refuge needs – all being existing and urgent community health care gaps
  • Three existing (non-Hospital Heath Care Services) that currently exist on site that will need to continue (namely Phoenix Rehabilitation, Parkhill Hammond Care and Café) in some capacity or rather
  • The need for innovative funding models that produce early revenue flows that can go towards ensuring that no long term debt is incurred by NSW Health, especially during the period of its transitioning to NSW Health Infrastructure and the on-going establishment and operation of a sustainable affordable Health Care facility
  • The emotional attachment the Manly Community has with the main Manly Hospital buildings – an icon of the Community’s self-determination and concern for its own residents and respect for their health care needs.  As show of respect for the 3 heritage listings for the site  (Manly District Hospital, Parkhill Arch and Stone Walls, all listed as Heritage Items under Schedule 4 of the Local Environment Plan.  Such Heritage Listing areas are central to the LEP zone controls for the Hospital Site and the surrounding St. Patrick’s College Estate and Moran House  
  • Potential inclusion of the Queenscliff Health Care Facility being added to the scope of the project and its potential role in aiding in the speedy cost-effective transitioning to a holistic Manly Community-driven Health Care Facility (McHCF) on the main site

There is a broad spectrum of re-use approaches possible:-

  1. From hollow-out and refurbish (most expensive)
  2. To adaptation of “as is” to become as fit-for-purpose in as far as is practical (least expensive)

Before defaulting to a “scorched-earth” strategy (demolish and fully re-develop), the Manly Community requires some explanation for why there was insufficient merit in the above justifications of re-using some existing buildings. 

 Details of the existing Manly Hospital Site (structure):-

  • Manly Hospital Site Overview Map (Google)

  • Explanation of the current 36 on site buildings as depicted and numbered on the opening Site Plan.  Those shown in “yellow” are all flagged for demolition, whereas the remaining 13 are candidates for consideration for some form of re-use :
  • Identification of the 13 existing buildings (above) being considered for re-use on a revised Overview Map (devoid of proposed demolished remaining 23 buildings) and their intended usage – Aged Care, Private Health Care Services, Rehabilitation & Men & Women’s Refuge
  • A sample of one of the existing building’s patient care hospital Floor Plans (Evacuation Diagram) and how it might be adapted to, say a Aged Care facility – the pros & cons.   Below is an Evacuation Diagram Floor Plan of the existing South Wing Level 4 superimposed as an potential Aged Care floor:-

How the above justifications, supporting re-use consideration, may or may not be viable

  • “Speed to market” no need to demolish, remove waste and rebuild would potentially reduce time to refit and refurbishment of an existing floor, utilising most of the existing facilities (eg. lifts, plumbing, electrics, etc)
  • The close alignments of South and East Wings’ hospital patient care facilities illustrated above
  • Three existing (non-Hospital Heath Care Services) that currently exist on site could to continue to use existing buildings either used now or those earmarked for reuse(eg. Phoenix Rehabilitation, Parkhill Hammond Care and Café) 
  • An innovative funding model as depicted in the Self-funded Aged Care initiatives could produce early revenue flows that go towards the refit and refurbishment of the existing building
  • The emotional attachment the Manly Community has with the main Manly Hospital heritage building’s facade could be facilitated by the retention of the main South Wing building
  • Potential inclusion of the Queenscliff Health Care Facility for the likes of temporary accommodation for men and women’s refuge, hospice, etc could buy time and take pressure off for the refit and refurbishment of South Wing by also providing temporary aged care accommodation (which would eventually move to the South Wing building) 


Informed Decision Making

In order to make well informed decisions regarding the future use of the Manly Hospital site, access is needed to much information seen to be highly pertinent to the decision making process.  Information such as:-

  • Contamination Assessment Reports
  • Zoning restrictions and Re-Zoning opportunities – 5(h) Special Uses (Hospital) Zone
  • Heritage Restrictions, central to LEP zone controls – Parkhill Arch & Stone Walls
  • Height Restrictions
  • State Significance Design (SSD regulations)
  • Floor Space Ratios (FSR) – current FSR is 0.43:1 for the existing buildings
  • Setback Restrictions
  • Existing Infrastructure provisions like plumbing, water supply, sewage, electricity and gas supplies, backup power supplies, heating, telecommunications, lighting, security, etc.

Such information is required to identify the “envelop of space” available for building construction. Some of this information is known to be currently available on site.    However, owing to the need to maintain a fully operational hospital up until its closure (in Nov’18), provision of such information would require prior approval from NSW Health and Manly Hospital officials together with any onsite access to obtain additional site information.      

A wide range of hybrid solutions, in-line with the community expectations, are possible – from some building re-use to the complete demolition of all building and new building constructions.  Each involves differing costs, revenue flow opportunities and innovative funding models.  One popular total redevelopment strategy involves exploiting Manly Hospital site’s high-worth opportunities to fund a separate community Health Care Facility elsewhere? All it would take would be one “show-stopping” discovery (like serious and costly contamination removal) to render the reuse strategy to be non-viable and the only viable option being the complete demolition of all site buildings and their replacement with new buildings.

Architecture Principles to a sustainable, affordable holistic Health Care Site Plan

  • Master Plan for the site taking into consideration the communities aspirations, proposed resident (permanent and temporary), range of health care services and the synergies and integration between them all
  • Street level design considerations
  • Generic, reusable and modest design layouts (for medium density affordable housing)
  • Regard for all the other Infrastructure, ancillary and environmental requirements (18)
  • Regard for health care service extension into the boarder community, especially towards the “home hospital” concept, innovative research & education and pro-active support for the community well-being, encouraging self-help and caring for one another
  • Filling the health care gap between hospital patient care and pre & post-hospital care
  • Promotion a “Green Star” rating of environmental sustainability and liveable community
  • No car based transport solutions, shifting from private to public transportation
  • An urban renewable living environment (healthy life-style, energy, waste, recycling, etc.).   



Contact Name: Lubo Kulisev
Contact Email Address:
Start Date: 20-Jun-2017
End Date: 21-Dec-2018
Signup: I would like to signup as a Volunteer for this Special Project Initiative

Volunteers already signed up for this Special Project Initiative (if any)

  1. Darryl Dobe   
  2. lubo kulisev   

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