Key development sites could kick-start a rejuvenation of Old Perth Road in Bassendean.
THE Town of Bassendean is hoping the sale of a key development site on Old Perth Road will be the catalyst to move forward plans to revitalise the area.
Town of Bassendean chief executive Bob Jarvis said key elements of the plan were higher density residential developments in the town centre, a possible redevelopment of Bassendean oval, and the establishment of a cappuccino strip.
“Investment in the Bassendean town centre over the last 15 years has not kept pace with overall development in the eastern corridor, but what has been achieved in Maylands, Mt Lawley and Midland illustrates what can be done in Bassendean,’’ he said.
“Now the council has put the necessary planning tools in place to guide development and encourage investment.”
The Town of Bassendean opened tenders for the sale of the 2,040 square metre old squash courts site at 85 Old Perth Road last month, and said the site was appropriate for a three- to five-storey mixed use commercial and residential development.
Mr Jarvis said the ideal outcome for the site would be 19 dwellings, with a mixture of commercial and retail on the ground floor.
The site will be the first to be developed under new inner city design guidelines developed by the Town of Bassendean.
Mr Jarvis told WA Business News the arrival of the site on the market was the beginning of the transformation of Bassendean’s town centre.
“What it will do is demonstrate what can be done in Bassendean in conjunction with the town centre area strategy,” Mr Jarvis said.
“Over the last 18 months, amendments to the Local Planning Scheme have allowed much higher densities in the town centre and over the next 12 months the council will be reviewing densities across the entire council area.
Another site out for tender that will boost Bassendean’s revitalisation strategy is the Masonic Hall site on the corner of Wilson and Shackleton Streets.
Under the Town of Bassendean’s guidelines, a residential development of up to 60 dwellings per hectare can be achieved if the heritage-listed Masonic Hall is incorporated.
Mr Jarvis said the site would be particularly interesting for developers as it has frontage to two streets, a child care centre opposite, and the hall could become an iconic residential development.
“Another feature of the site is there is one of the best modern public libraries in the state within two minutes walk,” he said.
“There is an interest in being 10 kilometres from the city, close to public transport and walking distance to the river.
“The suburb’s proximity to Midland and the potential Raffles University is also an advantage.
“There have already been enquiries from international high net worth investors exploring the possibilities setting up student accommodation in the suburb.”
The potential for capital gains in Bassendean has been noted in investment circles.
Research by property analysts RP Data commissioned by St George Bank in August last year identified Bassendean as one of the nation’s 24 best value suburbs in terms of potential for price growth.
“There has been talk about Bassendean as being the next big thing, but that’s mainly centred on residential growth,” Mr Jarvis said. “That growth, however, stimulates the potential of commercial development in the town centre.”
“The next step is to get more involvement from private landowners.
“A number of owners in Old Perth Road are looking for a start and then they will kick off their developments as well.
“There have been difficulties in the past with landowners having unrealistic asking prices. Another issue is the landowners are just landowners; they are not developers, so they cannot see the potential of their landholdings.”
One Bassendean landowner who does see the potential is Harry Katsamakis, who purchased the Bassendean Hotel on the corner of Old Perth and Guildford Roads in February.
Six months before buying the hotel, Mr Katsamakis also purchased the adjoining lot, currently being used as a carpark, for its development potential.
Mr Katsamakis said although he had no concrete plans in place for the carpark site, he was envisioning a development similar to the council’s preferred outcome scenario at 85 Old Perth Road.
He said he was also in the midst of developing plans to rejuvenate the hotel, starting with the front bar, and moving onto the back room, once known as the Rolf Harris room.
“It’s got the potential for a landmark development, but we’ve got to get it right, because we don’t want it to be an eyesore or just sit there,” Mr Katsamakis said.
Another Bassendean landowner is Aldo Talcakovic, who has owned a 2,500sqm vacant block across from 85 Old Perth Road for 30 years.
Mr Talcakovic said he was keen to see the outcome of the council’s development site and saw real potential for a redeveloped Old Perth Road.
He said he had been in discussions with an estate agent regarding potential uses for the block, and was investigating putting it up for sale through expressions of interest.
Also, LandCorp is currently looking at Bassendean Oval as a potential redevelopment site.
Under any potential development plan the football ground would remain, with unit, townhouse and apartment developments surrounding it.
“The development still requires a scheme amendment, but it is being positively looked at by council,” Mr Jarvis said.
The revitalisation of the Bassendean town centre is expected to work in synergy with a plan from the Town of Bassendean, the City of Bayswater and the Western Australian Planning Commission for an activity centre around Ashfield train station. The Ashfield Precinct Plan, which will shape the future development of Ashfield, proposes the area becoming a more significant employment-focused strategic centre over the next two decades.