21/12/2011 - 10:38

Building a capital city that works for people

21/12/2011 - 10:38


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Building a capital city that works for people

The multi-million dollar bill for the Barnett government’s commitment to a slew of transformational projects in and around the city has dominated media coverage of these once-in-a-generation ventures this year.

But the price tag for projects like the city foreshore and the new stadium at Burswood has overshadowed the true value of many of these ventures, according to leading architect David Karotkin.

WA chapter president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Mr Karotkin said the transformation of Perth into a vibrant capital city was already evident any night of the week in the CBD.

“You can walk down the terrace at 8 o’clock on any night and you can see people and hear people at the bars, there is definitely a feeling that things are changing,” Mr Karotkin said.

“As an architect I focus on the built environment but that’s just part of the recipe for a vibrant city, you need activities as well … it’s about creating opportunities.”

He said the introduction of the small-bar licence along with the rejuvenation of the cultural centre revealed the complex interplay of development, commerce, culture and people in the city.

“The cultural centre is an example where reasonably modest changes … have had a big impact,” Mr Karotkin said.

“The development of the state theatre centre was obviously a great drawcard in itself but it’s the stuff that has come off the back of that that’s having an even greater impact, like the redevelopment of William Street.”

It’s not just people who are returning to the city, developers have also swooped on the opportunities with Leighton securing approval for an 11-storey office and retail complex on the site of the once-iconic Entertainment Centre.

It will be the first of six buildings on what is called the Kings Square precinct of the City Link project and support as much as 19,000sqm of retail and office space.

The City Link is the northern bookend of what planners and architects refer to as the new north-south axis of the city, which has long been bounded by development on the east and west.

At the far eastern end of the city Lend Lease has already staked a claim on the 40-hectare Riverside project after being announced as the preferred proponent to develop the 4ha Waterbank precinct site.

Waterbank was a key win for Lend Lease, which has quietly expanded its project book in WA over the past three years to include two $1 billion projects – Waterbank and the massive Alkimos residential land development venture in the northern suburban corridor.

The construction contract for the new football stadium at Burswood presents another significant opportunity, particularly for John Holland, which lost out to rival BGC for the Perth Arena job.

Massive cost blowouts in the construction cost and schedule for the arena have dogged the state government’s vision for the city but, with the newly formed Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority primed to hit the ground running next month, the government appears to be aiming to avoid a repeat performance.


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