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Development approvals for east end

CITY shoppers can look forward to a revitalised eastern shopping precinct as Barrack Street and nearby properties become the focus of a series of apartment, arcade and retail developments.

The $18 million Railway Hotel apartment redevelopment was last week approved by the City of Perth, along with a $7.5 million refurbishment of the Cinema City arcade and a $5 million renovation of the St Martin’s arcade.

A 12-storey building, comprising residential and serviced apartments, retail, offices and a cafe restaurant will be built on the old Railway Hotel site on Barrack Street.

The modern building, which blends with the reconstructed heritage façade of the old hotel, has been praised for its curving design that reduces the perception of the building when viewed from Barrack or Wellington Streets.

The nearby Cinema City arcade, connecting Barrack, Murray and Hay Streets, has been given approval for the first of a two-stage redevelopment.

The first stage will involve linking three new cinemas to four existing Hoyts theatres on the upper level, as well as upgrading the three ground level entrances.

Additional storage space and parking is included in plans for the basement levels.

St Martin’s arcade, which runs between St Georges Terrace and the Hay Street Mall, will undergo major changes, converting the vacant cinema theatres into three floors of retail and office space.

Two further redevelopment phases, including the extension of retail floor space under the Hay Street Mall and the building of a new cafe at the Terrace end of the arcade, also are planned.

Several city retailers have moved their operations to the eastern end of the malls, including Angus and Robertson and Jeans West.

Angus and Robertson has moved from its St Martins Arcade site to the former Betts & Betts store, while Jeans West has closed its Hay Street Mall location and moved from its Carillion City Arcade home to a new shop which forms part of the David Jones site.

This movement came from retailers eager to take advantage of the imminent opening of the David Jones department store and 166 City Central supermarket and retail development, according to Colliers Jardine retailing leasing manager Stephen Robertson, who negotiated both leases.

“Over the past 12 months many CBD retailers have been reluctant to relocate until they see what impact the new David Jones store and Woolworths Murray Street development will have on the CBD retail market,” Mr Robertson said.

“However, several major retailers, like Jeans West, have recently made the move in anticipation of what they expect will be the new centre of retail activity.”

But Perth Lord Mayor Dr Peter Nattrass is not so sure.

“Development swings from one end of the city to the other, and in the end it all pans out quite evenly,” Dr Nattrass said.

“But I will say Barrack Street has been a forgotten street of Perth and hopefully, with the street scape improvements and alterations the city has undertaken, property owners in that area will start to take more pride in their street and sink more money into their shops.

“And then, as with the Railway Hotel, Cinema City and St Martin’s Arcades, we will see smaller shops replaced by more upmarket shops.”

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