See inside the new Bridgeport Hotel – and the view from the top

Exclusive: The $45 million development in Murray Bridge is close to completion. See what it looks like now – and concept images of the finished product.

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Excitement radiates out of Mary-Lou Corcoran at every turn as we tour the construction site that will – four months from now – be the new Bridgeport Hotel.

Since being appointed general manager of the $45 million development in December, Ms Corcoran has wasted no time in getting to work.

That has meant keeping an eye on the builders’ progress, preparing a mock hotel room for marketing purposes and even beginning to hire the 130-plus staff who will work there by the middle of this year.

But most joyous have been the site tours she has led for suppliers, civic leaders and other stakeholders, showing them what the Bridgeport is becoming.

After a while she tried to stop herself saying “this is going to be great” or “I’m so excited about this” as we entered every new space on Wednesday.

“This is going to be a game-changer for the Murraylands,” she said of the Bridgeport’s redevelopment.

“The build and the technology they’re putting into the building are top-class.

“The new building is going to have such an impact on the community, especially for foot traffic on the main street.

“Murray Bridge is going to be a destination.”

The hotel is scheduled to open in late May with a week of public festivities.

A quickfire fit-out will follow a handover from the builders around the end of April.

The new Bridgeport’s features will include:

  • 100 four-star guest rooms on five levels, each featuring artwork by local photographers

  • The Rivergum Restaurant, where diners can watch their meals being made in an open kitchen and wander out onto a terrace with river views and a giant TV screen

  • The Pool Bar, where cocktails will be served beside a heated infinity pool overlooking the river

  • The Cods Bar, a sports bar off Bridge Street themed after Murray Bridge’s 1924 Olympic rowers

  • Function spaces of various sizes, the smallest suitable for community group meetings and the largest capable of hosting up to 500 people for standing-room-only performances – “I think we’re going to have a lot of parties up here”

  • A lounge on the Bridge Street/East Terrace corner complete with a grand staircase

It will not, however, feature a rooftop bar – perhaps that will have to wait for a future redevelopment.

The technology used at the hotel will be state-of-the-art – for example, guests who own smartphones will be able to use them as room keys, and even remotely control the temperature in their rooms.

Executive chef Bianca Phillips, recruited from the McCracken Country Club in Victor Harbor, is developing menus which will prominently feature local produce and wines.

“It’s going to be the epicentre of the Murraylands for entertainment, food, beverage and accommodation,” Ms Corcoran said.

“It’s going to be beneficial to so many in the region.”

She encouraged anyone interested in working at the hotel – not just in the kitchen and dining room, but in administration, housekeeping, maintenance or other roles – to drop a resume off at her office, a hut marked “GM” at the South Terrace entrance to the building site.

The original Bridgeport Hotel was built in 1884 and played a pivotal role in the early days of the township that would become Murray Bridge, hosting rowing club meetings and even church services.

However, the grand old stone structure was irrevocably altered in the 1970s, when large sections of its ground-floor walls were knocked out and replaced with brickwork.

A debate about the heritage value of the old building helped delay the redevelopment by several years – owners EDP Hotels had considered the idea as long ago as 2014.

However, the issue was settled two years ago, when inspectors took a closer look behind the walls and found it would be impossible to restore the stonework to its original condition.