Development rethink

PLANS for Kerry Packer’s $300 million Westralia Square project have been scaled back.

Project managers James Fielding now are pushing for a mid-2003 completion date to take full advantage of the number of leases up for renewal within the next three years.

The project last week received development approval from the City of Perth for two towers, each with 16 floors of 1850sqm, but this week revised plans show only two towers of 13 office floors would be built, decreasing the net lettable area in each from almost 30,000sqm to 24,000sqm.

The two towers will stand on pillars, five storeys above the ground.

The revised plans reduce the amount of pre-commitment necessary to start the project, with only 12,000sqm of pre-commitment now needed before one tower becomes viable.

And CPH and James Fielding may be very close to their target. Westralia Square Development leasing executive John Byrne said site works could begin before Christmas.

“And to say that, we would have to be very advanced in some tenant negotiations,” he said.

About 200,000sqm worth of office leases will expire in the next coming three years.

“We have a window of opportunity to produce a top class development on the best site in Perth in a time frame that mirrors the lease expiries of a number of potentially suitable tenants,” Mr Byrne said.

“The organisations we are talking to realise they will have to address their occupancy needs two to three years down the track … and we can meet this time frame, which perhaps some of the other larger developments can not.”

The Westralia Square project has been described as a campus-style development that boasts 8500sqm of landscaped parkland and a swag of retail and service tenants housed in the five heritage buildings on the St Georges Terrace front of the site.

A health club, beauty salon, daycare centre, drycleaners, cafes and restaurants have all been mooted as possible tenants.

Mr Byrne said the project, designed by the architectural arm of Bovis Lend Lease in consultation with Spowers, had been developed with tenant requirements a priority.

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