Plans have been filed with the Development Consent Authority (Darwin Division) of the Northern Territory Government for a new hotel, serviced apartment and luxury villa project in Darwin.

To be located at 25 Gilruth Avenue, The Gardens on a beachfront site known as Little Mindil, the $200-million resort complex is designed by architecture and interior design studio Hachem for Arthur Winston Investment and joint venture partner Kita Group.

The proposed development will offer 168 hotel rooms, 53 serviced apartments, 20 luxury villas and 277 parking spaces. Approval is being sought for two 6-storey buildings and three single-storey buildings.

However, concerns have been raised about the resort project potentially encroaching on local Indigenous sacred burial grounds. The property borders Little Mindil Beach and Little Mindil Creek, and sits adjacent to the Mindil Beach Casino Resort where several burial sites were previously found.

According to Hachem’s Design Response Package, Little Mindil was originally occupied by the Indigenous peoples of the Larrakia tribes, but “the land at and surrounding Little Mindil has undergone various incarnations since colonial settlement”.

However, prehistoric burial sites may still exist on Little Mindil Beach, says principal archaeologist Silvano Jung who wants the developers to initiate an archaeological monitoring program for any ground disturbance work. While an archaeological survey conducted as part of the development application didn’t find any burial sites, the developers are committed to ongoing engagement with Larrakia Nation, the traditional owners of the land.

Hachem’s design for the Little Mindil resort aims to provide Darwin with a prestigious waterside development that preserves, enhances and makes best use of its environment. The architects plan to make extensive use of biophilic architecture to meld the development into an existing place of natural beauty as well as decrease stormwater costs and improve air quality, while encouraging outdoor activities that help to promote good health.

The buildings have been carefully orientated to maximise views and capture the three superb outlooks at Little Mindil. The beachfront villas are one storey tall, allowing water views from the tiered serviced apartment building behind them and the hotel to the side. As they get progressively taller, the buildings twist to take best advantage of the views, the architects stated.

The development application is currently on public exhibition.