20/05/2021 - 10:36

$40m Rottnest lodge revamp

20/05/2021 - 10:36

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Place Development Australia, GPA and Sirona Capital have been selected as the preferred proponents to redevelop the Rottnest Island Lodge site.

$40m Rottnest lodge revamp
A concept illustration of the Rottnest Lodge redevelopment. Image: Mike Edwards

Place Development Australia, GPA and Sirona Capital have been selected as the preferred proponents to redevelop the Rottnest Island Lodge site.

The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) called for expressions of interest to redevelop the lodge in March 2020, with six short-listed proponents submitting their plans late last year.

Proposals were considered on design, cultural and commercial factors and assessed by a panel including the RIA, government architect Rebecca Moore and a member of the Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group.

Burgess Rawson ran the EOI process on behalf of RIA, with the state government announcing this morning it had chosen the $40 million proposal from the Perth-based consortium, led by Place Development.

The consortium plans to deliver 94 rooms, a day spa, restaurant, beach lounge, bar, pool, as well as onsite staff accommodation, with construction expected to commence mid next year, targeting a 2025 completion date.

Designed by Fremantle architects Spaceagency, the project comprises the development of new buildings as well as extensive upgrades to existing buildings, including the Lakeside Villas and accommodation within the former Boys Reformatory.  

The consortium’s plans will be advertised for public comment prior to final consideration by the RIA.

A concept illustration of the Lodge revamp. Image: Elevation imagery by Spaceagency.

Tourism minister David Templeman said the winning proposal brought together a consortium of highly-regarded operators for the hotel, food and beverage operations, and the wellness spa.

Place Develoment's recent property consultancy projects include the Westin Perth and Hibernian Place in the Perth CBD, as well as Fremantle’s FOMO-Kings Square.

The group is also acting as project lead for the development of a microbrewery in Dunsborough, which received planning approval last week. 

GPA is led by George Atzemis, a prominent private property owner and developer, known for work on the Adnate Hotel and his involvement in shopping centres across the state. 

“Place Development is a specialised property delivery team driving projects through the phases of acquisition, master planning, design and delivery,” Mr Templeman said.

“Place Development is committed to respecting the important cultural history of the Island and the Lodge site through harmonious design elements that will enhance the natural surrounds and provide a premium visitor experience.

“The design incorporates a series of gardens set around the buildings known as the ‘Gathering Ground’, which will be used as a social hub where guests, island visitors and tour operators are welcomed and able to meet, start a tour, or to just relax and take in the natural surrounds.

“This exciting redevelopment planned for Rottnest will help to stimulate the Island by attracting new visitors, offering regular visitors new accommodation with a range of affordable and boutique options while providing new visitor experiences and amenities.”

Place Development director Rob Bates-Smith, said the group hoped the new low-impact Rottnest development would be a welcoming and inclusive resort that reflected the relaxed informality of Rottnest and paid respect to the island’s Indigenous significance. 

“We are collaborating with a carefully curated team of WA’s most talented and experienced architects and operators - each individually proven to deliver destinations of a world-class standard - to ensure an authentic, localised and active accommodation, food and beverage, wellness and cultural precinct,” he said.

“Collectively, we share a desire to deepen Rottnest’s offer and appeal with this new, iconic hospitality and cultural tourism addition to the Rottnest fold. It’s one that we are confident all Western Australians will be proud of and which will attract visitors from interstate and abroad.” 

The Rottnest Island Lodge site plan. Source: Place Development. 

In 2019, a draft Rottnest Island Management Plan 2020-24 was released noting that the site would be offered to the market as an opportunity to recreate the lodge.

Following the submission of an Activity Notice to the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, the RIA said it had liaised and consulted with nominated members to undertake surveys and provide input into the design guidelines for submission to the Heritage Council of Western Australia.

Those design guidelines were conditionally endorsed by the Heritage Council and were utilised to guide the consortium’s development proposal.

RIA said it had also undertaken extensive due diligence on the site, inlcuding ground penetrating radar surveys, as well as ethnographic and archaelogical surveys in conjunction with Whadjuk Noongar Traditional Owners.

The lease boundary for the project was also adjusted to exclude any potentially sensitive areas - the Lodge is located next to the former Aboriginal prison known as the Quod and the RIA said the Whadjuk Noongar people would lead consultation on a proposal for the future of the Quod as part of The Wadjemup Project.

The Rottnest Lodge has previously been operated by Karma Resorts, with founder and chair John Spence also throwing his hat in the ring for the lodge redevelopment.

Earlier this year Mr Spence told Business News he had submitted business plans and development suggestions as part of the EOI process.

Place Development is expected to take over the leasehold of the Rottnest Lodge site on May 31, 2022, on the expiry of the current lease with Karma Group.

The Rottnest Lodge redevelopment follows the opening of Discovery Rottnest in 2019 and the Samphire Rottnest resort late last year.

The 80-room Samphire Rottnest resort is owned by The Prendiville Group and is located next to Hotel Rottnest.

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