10/04/2018 - 15:41

Cannington opportunity builds

10/04/2018 - 15:41

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Several property developments are taking shape at the heart of the City of Canning, with its $70 million regeneration program set to start works next month.

Cannington opportunity builds
Paul Ng (left) and Arthur Kyron say the City of Canning is on the cusp of transformation. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Several property developments are taking shape at the heart of the City of Canning, with its $70 million regeneration program set to start works next month. 

From the $350 million Westfield Carousel Shopping Centre expansion to a number of neighbouring mixed-use apartment projects, there is no shortage of development activity under way in Cannington.  

And the City of Canning is aiming to facilitate more, anticipating the start of its upgrades to the city centre will act as a further drawcard for investment.

Endorsed by the Western Australian Planning Commission in 2017, the Canning City Centre Regeneration Program will deliver $70 million worth of streetscape and infrastructure works over the next decade, with the aim to facilitate 10,000 new high-density residential dwellings.

Urban streams, tree-lined plazas, pedestrian-focused streets, a potential light rail system and the sinking of Albany Highway to connect the city centre with the Canning River are just some of the ideas set to transform its public spaces.

Cecil Avenue, which runs off Albany Highway next to Carousel, will become the city’s new main street.

The Cecil Avenue revitalisation project, a key component of the regeneration program, was given the green light to progress last month.

A concept plan has since been advertised and involves the acquisition of land for street upgrades to Cecil Avenue between Albany Highway and Pattie Street, including landscaping, public transport infrastructure, the widening of pavements and the installation of ‘smart pole’ technology (street poles with sensors and WiFi connectivity).

Stages two and three of the Cecil Avenue project will include a new market and train station square, as well as a multicultural street market. 

Works for stage one are expected to start at the end of May, following the end of a public comment period on April 27.

After six years of planning, City of Canning Mayor Paul Ng said the shift into the implementation phase of the regeneration program signified a new era for the city.

“Canning City Centre is set to change the landscape of the south-eastern corridor, offering 10,000 new homes, economic benefits of up to $2.2 billion, employment opportunities and a precinct that finally gives a heart to the Canning area,” Mr Ng said.

“At the end of this 10-year project, people will recollect what used to be here – some dilapidated buildings, unused land, an area disconnected from its surrounding community – and they will understand the vision and future focus the City of Canning has had with this plan.”

 

Opportunity

City of Canning chief executive Arthur Kyron said there was a lot of scope for development, with about 23 per cent of land in the city centre underdeveloped or vacant. 

Among the projects with the greatest potential was the sinking of Albany Highway, creating a tunnel to allow better connection between the Canning city centre and river, while also releasing more land. 

This would require significant investment, with Mr Kyron suggesting the federal government’s City Deals funding was one possible funding avenue.

Another potential development option was the 14.1 hectares of government land holdings within the city centre precinct (which covers 166ha in total).

This included WA Housing Authority land near the railway station, he said. 

“We can make things happen very quickly here, it’s just a matter of making decisions and committing to them,” Mr Kyron said.

“This is a brownfields site, not open acreages, so there are constraints but whatever we can do to reduce those barriers we will.”

City of Canning senior project leader Gary McCullough said Western Power was also aiming to subdivide its 4ha of landholdings in the city.

In addition, a 2.96ha site opposite Carousel Shopping Centre, was listed for sale last week by CBRE.

Located at 6-10 Carousel Road, the site currently houses an 18,677 square metre warehouse, however,  its zoning permits uses including residential, retirement and aged care, and complementary retail of up to 14 storeys.

Private investment

Developers attracted to the area include Georgiou Developments, which has purchased a 1.1ha site at the east end of Cecil Avenue under a conditional contract with settlement immenent and a design and planning for a mixed-use apartment product yet to be finalised.

Executive director Jon Smeulders said it was the first time the group had invested in Cannington.

“It’s got all the attributes of a good development,” Mr Smeulders told Business News.

“It’s transit-oriented, has the railway across the road, a high frequency bus, there’s Carousel and Leisureplex just next door and we’re barely five kilometres from Curtin University and just 12 kilometres from the CBD.

“And you’ve got a council that’s ready to go and doesn’t get weak at the knees at anything over two storeys.

“There’s also a large chunk of the community from India and Asia already predisposed to apartment and inter-generational living.

“So there is great potential.”

The City is hoping to attract about $2.4 billion worth of private investment, with the largest backer being Scentre Group with its $350 million redevelopment of Westfield Carousel.

Pathfinder Property Group is currently managing two mixed-use apartment developments on behalf of a private WA developer – the $50 million Momentum project on Cecil Avenue, which completed construction last year, and the neighbouring $58 million Velocity development, set for completion by early 2020.

Pathfinder managing director Bryan Negus said the group had sold more than 30 of Velocity’s 120 apartments since launching presales last month, with a number of other contract negotiations under way.

“We get interest from downsizers and also investors, as they can see value in the location; it has strong rental returns and low vacancy rates,” Mr Negus told Business News.

“You’ve also got quite an established suburb with a large shopping centre that currently has very little periphery development.

“And the proactivity of the City of Canning has certainly been a driver in people making the decision to purchase.”

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