12/10/2004 - 22:00

Activity stirs in the city

12/10/2004 - 22:00

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The area around the intersection of Wellington and William streets will receive a much needed injection of life if a series of proposed developments in the area become more feasible as a result of pedestrian traffic generated by the William Street Station

Activity stirs in the city

The area around the intersection of Wellington and William streets will receive a much needed injection of life if a series of proposed developments in the area become more feasible as a result of pedestrian traffic generated by the William Street Station.

The area will undoubtedly undergo a major facelift over the next few years following the purchase of Raine Square by Perth town planner turned property developer Luke Saraceni and his business partner Hossean Pourzand for $21.5 million.

Mr Saraceni has said construction of the Raine Square development would start as soon as a major tenant signed on to the project.

Colliers International research manager David Cresp said significant levels of activity would move to the area once Raine Square and other developments on the Wellington Street station were completed.

“There will be more offices, and an increase in the number of people because of the train station,” Mr Cresp told WA Business News.

“The increase in the pedestrian count will also encourage retailers, and the level of amenities is bound to increase.

“A developer like Luke Saracini won’t have paid nearly $22 million to sit on the site.

“The former Commonwealth Bank building has had recent success in leasing retail space after a $3.5 million refurbishment last year and there are rumours of an office tenant signing on.

“In addition, proposals for additional activity at the GPO have been mooted for some time.

“So there is a fair bit of potential development activity in the area – the train station will bring additional people to the area, which will be a catalyst for change.”

In April 2003, Australia Post obtained approval from the WA Heritage Council and Perth Council for a $10 million refurbishment of the heritage-listed post office building, which will create six retail tenancies, office space, conference facilities and 41 basement car parks for tenants.

A glass atrium, previously concealed by a false ceiling, will also be exposed and restored as part of the refurbishment.

Australia Post State communications manager Ian Leggoe said plans for the refurbishment were still active, but that there were no plans at this stage to proceed with them.

“The refurbishment plans submitted in 2003 are still in existence, but we would need to get a committed tenant before we commenced with construction,” he said.

Commenting on plans for the former Commonwealth Bank Building (now known as Heritage on Murray), Lease Equity director Jim Tsagalis said there were originally four to six retail spaces available, with the Commonwealth Bank taking up two of those.

“The next tenant was upmarket men’s clothing retailer Rod and Gun, then Fone Zone, and we are just about to sign up another tenant for a space of 1,000 square metres,” he said.

Mr Tsagalis said that, with the new train station coming through the precinct, its dominance in the city would become more prominent.

“The expectation is that the area will increase in prominence significantly,” Mr Tsagalis said.

“Raine Square is such a big parcel of land it can really be developed into something significant – in Sydney, Melbourne or even Brisbane such a big piece of land in the CBD is virtually unheard of and is pure gold.”

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