15/01/2021 - 13:00

$40m office complex divides

15/01/2021 - 13:00

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GDI Property Group's $40 million timber-steel hybrid office complex proposal for St Georges Terrace has been approved, but not everyone is happy about it.

$40m office complex divides
GDI Property Group's $40 million timber-steel hybrid office complex proposal for St Georges Terrace has received conditional approval. Image: GDI Property Group.

GDI Property Group's $40 million timber-steel hybrid office complex proposal for St Georges Terrace has received conditional approval, despite concerns that the application did not meet the necessary planning requirements.

The Perth Local Development Area Assessment Panel unanimously agreed to approve the development application for the 13-storey office proposal during a two-hour meeting this morning, which includes the refurbishment of the public plaza area and pedestrian walkway. 

The approval was granted on the grounds that the proponent adhere to a suite of conditions relating to the plot ratio falling within the specified limit, the development being constructed with high quality materials, the internal fit-outs being designed to maximise surveillance of the plaza and walkways and the submission of management plans for landscaping, demolition, and construction.

The proposal was subject to intense scrutiny by lawyers representing neighbouring property owner Brookfield Place Perth, who suggested that the plans submitted contained insufficient information, and questioned the methodology used to determine the allowable plot ratio - which is 648m² below the legal maximum of 143,000m².

An assertion was made by lawyer Nada Raphael that the city had “rubber stamped” the calculation without giving due consideration to the issues raised, a calculation she believed should be independently reviewed.

But City of Perth officers were quick to refute those claims, adding that most of the concerns had been adequately addressed and that extensive conversations had been had regarding the calculation of the plot ratio - a calculation they were confident was correct.

Officers said the discrepancies highlighted between calculations in the initial submission in June and the most recent submission had been addressed and rectified within the report presented.

Concerns were also raised about whether the plans allowed for sufficient pedestrian access, the materiality of the upper level walkway and the impact the building could have on both the existing structure below and the one adjacent to it.

Members of the panel also questioned how successful the landowners would be in negotiating future improvements at the site, given the pair were at odds over the application.

But the panel ultimately chose to approve the application based on the advice of city officers.

In a statement released today, GDI confirmed it would look to begin construction by mid-year, with the building expected to be completed in less than two years.

GDI managing director Steve Gillard said the project was a model for future city centre development, revitalising an under-utilised part of an existing, highly developed section of the Perth CBD.

The decision constitutes development approval for a period of four years, with the final plans to be submitted to the City of Perth to satisfy the conditions of the approval.

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