01/07/2022 - 10:47

$140m Burswood office knocked back

01/07/2022 - 10:47

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An attempt to revive a rejected 18-storey office building proposal opposite Crown Towers has failed.

$140m Burswood office knocked back
A revised proposal of an office tower in Burswood. Image: Donaldson Boshard

An attempt to revive a rejected 18-storey office building proposal opposite Crown Towers has failed.

The Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Panel has unanimously refused the $140 million proposal at its meeting today.

The application, lodged by town planners element on behalf of landowners of 176 Burswood Parade, proposes an 18-storey office building, three-storey podium and a 309-bay car park.

Other features include a cafe on the ground level and childcare premises proposed for the fourth floor.

This is the third iteration for a building at the site, with a plan for a 25-storey building initially lodged in December 2020 before it was amended to a $165 million, 22-storey office tower with a five-storey podium and a 443-bay car park in 2021.

JDAP members refused the 2021 proposal as the proposed height exceeded the local planning limit of 12 storeys, and the development’s bulk and scale being inconsistent with the locality.

The applicant requested a review of the JDAP decision in the State Administrative Tribunal in August, prompting mediation session between the parties.

After making modifications to the proposal, the SAT ordered the JDAP to reconsider the revised application.

Despite the revision, the Town of Victoria Park’s responsible authority report prepared by its planning officers recommended the application be refused.

“The town considers that these modifications improve the overall application,” the report said.

“That being said, the building envelope of the revised proposal still proposes significant departures from current planning framework, in terms of the development standards of building height, floor plate area and plot ratio.”

At today’s meeting, the JDAP members agreed with the recommendation and refused the current proposal with deputy presiding member Rachel Chapman saying there were still outstanding issues.

“There’s been some significant improvements to this proposal but I do agree it hasn’t gone far enough,” she said.

“I also don’t want to discourage development in this area, it’s very much needed.

“[But] what is lacking is how it sits within the context of the area.”

Element planning associate Renee Young said it would be a wasted opportunity to not capitalise on the 4,220-square-metre lot of land.

Ms Young said the development catered to the Town of Victoria Park’s intention to increase employment in the area.

“To get those jobs you need the right type of development,” she said.

“This is an area that they want to deliver a strategic office.”

Landowners are listed as Dianne Jeanette Solomons, Julius Victor Solomons and Mark Solomons via State City Investments.

Local Planning Policy 22

Panel members agreed the proposal was a deviation from the town’s local planning policy for the area, titled LPP22.

LPP22 imposes a 12-storey building height limit, a 15 metre width maximum and a plot ratio limit of 8,440 square metres.

The $140 million 18-storey office proposal has a tower width of 19 metres and a plot ratio of 16,800 square metres.

Town councillor and JDAP member Vicki Potter said the 18-storey office proposal asked for too many variations to the policy.

“While I agree it’s a better application than it was originally, I don’t think it’s there yet,” she said.

Thomson Geer lawyer Julius Skinner, presenting with element, said the town’s planning policy might have stopped development going ahead.

“Although policy been around for a number of years, it hasn’t generated the level of development in the area that was anticipated by the policy,” he said.

“It hasn’t been consistently applied to other development before it.”

Ms Potter said she did not believe the policy was the cause of the slow growth of development in the area.

“I’ve been sitting on this JDAP committee for nine years now and I would have to say that I’ve seen quite a number of properties applications being approved in this area,” she said.

“The development hasn’t occurred at a rate the town would’ve liked but there are definitely other economic reasons and not the policy.”

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