08/11/2017 - 10:35

Art at the heart of a revitalised Perth inner city

08/11/2017 - 10:35

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The private sector has matched public funds dollar for dollar in 2017 to support the Historic Heart of Perth project, which aims to revitalise the east end precinct through public art and streetscape improvements.

Art at the heart of a revitalised Perth inner city
Sandy Anghie says Historic Heart of Perth is encouraging small business to move into the east end. Photos: Attila Csaszar

The private sector has matched public funds dollar for dollar in 2017 to support the Historic Heart of Perth project, which aims to revitalise the east end precinct through public art and streetscape improvements.

The first stage of the project, led by prominent property developer Adrian Fini, was launched last month.

Mr Fini said the purpose of the project was to bring the forgotten heritage precinct of Perth, bordered by Barrack Street and Perth Mint, back to life using art.

“This regeneration model happens all over the world,” he said.

“You have an economically depressed area, artists move in, then creatives and coffee shops, followed by innovators – and in time the depressed area is no longer depressed.”

Stage one of the project runs from Barrack Street to Irwin Street.

The state government has provided $250,000 towards the project for 2017 works, with another $250,000 from the private sector, with BGC Development’s $100,000 being the largest single contribution.

Other contributors included Mr Fini’s private company FJM Property, Mirvac Group, Miss Maud and Lease Equity.

 

Mural by Helen Smith

Local artist Helen Smith was provided with a $14,000 commission for her mural on Pier Street, while a further $136,000 will be spent on more murals in the coming months, according to Historic Heart of Perth project manager Sandy Anghie.

About 65 planter boxes and benches will be painted by local artists and installed in the streets.

To promote the 10 small museums in the area, Historic Heart has collaborated with Heritage Perth to launch an app that links the museums through a heritage walk.

Member for Perth, John Carey, who spoke at the launch last month, promoted Perth’s adoption of a ‘city of neighbourhoods’ approach and said the project could be a model  to tackle other underperforming areas of Perth.

“We’ve seen massive infrastructure projects and big projects, but it’s not just about that, it’s about the street experience,” Mr Carey told Business News.

“Vancouver and other cities do this well where you allow and you encourage that different parts of the city have their own identities.”

With rental prices in Perth’s east end as much as 40 per cent cheaper than similar spaces in the west end, Ms Anghie said businesses had been encouraged to take up leases in the area, particularly given the improved streetscapes being developed and proposed by the Historic Heart project.

Among the businesses to take up the opportunity had been photography group Huzzard Studios, which now occupies three previously derelict buildings on Pier Street, FA Concept Store, now on Pier Street, and Art Collective, now under the Perth City Library.

“Next year we’re actually planning a more cohesive approach, where we want to catalogue the vacant spaces in the city,” Ms Anghie said.

Historic Heart also planned to double its efforts in 2018 and take the landscaping from Barrack Street to Irwin Street, and replicate it from Irwin to Hill streets in a denser format.

“Already we’ve got one east end music festival in the planning,” Ms Anghie said.

“That’s looking at working with WASO, looking at doing a coordinated number of music events throughout the east end.” 

Art by James Giddy

Ms Anghie said private contributors had already committed $250,000 for 2018, and she was hoping to secure the same funds again from the state government.

She said many of the investors backing the project were local businesses that would benefit from increased activity in the area.

The precinct has 16 hotels, including two under construction (Westin and QT), and one that has closed for refurbishment (Kings).

“There’s an enormous amount of tourists in this area and you want your tourists to be waking up in a great city, not in a forgotten part of town,” Ms Anghie told Business News.

Mr Fini was the developer for The State Buildings, which houses The Como Hotel, and retains equity in the property.

“We (FJM and Fini Group) are a long-term property owner, so with all the projects we do we try to develop an urban, cultural and social agenda for the project and for the neighbourhood around it,” Mr Fini said.

BGC Development general manager and deputy chair for Historic Heart of Perth, Ross Catalano, said BGC was both the builder and co-owner of The Westin Perth and Hibernian Place precinct, which were set to open in 2018.

The Hibernian Place precinct will include a variety of food and beverage offerings, including a revamped heritage-listed Hibernian Hall as The Westin’s signature restaurant.

“We (BGC) are financially invested in the area and are keen to see the local area become a distinct precinct within the Perth CBD that offers a diversity of high calibre offerings and experiences,” Mr Catalano said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options