Dunlop House getting ready to rise again

THE long awaited redevelopment of Dunlop House is about to commence with the Perth City Council giving approval for a 246 room hotel on the site.

The project has been plagued by setbacks, most recently due to the Asian crisis.

The existing Dunlop House at 418-428 Murray Street is currently vacant. It previously used as the 418 Nightclub, and before that as Rumours nightclub.

The current proposal is for a $35 million, sixteeen level to be called Rendezvous Hotel Perth.

The proposal incorporates additional floor area and height to that originally submitted. This was necessary for owner Bless Assets Investments to improve the financial viability of the project and give the development the best chance of proceeding.

According to developer Christou Casella and Jee Architects, following the approval granted in May 1997 detailed design and building plans commenced and were well advanced when the Asian crisis struck and the owners asked for the project to be put on hold.

With an improved economic environment Bless Assets now consider it a good time to proceed with the project.

The company has made one major change in that the building will now be a conventional hotel in lieu of serviced apartments.

Christou Casella and Jee Architects director Ron Jee said the company are currently preparing tender documents, with tenders to close before Christmas.

Construction is due to begin in January 2000 and is estimated to take two years to complete.

Mr Jee said the owners expected a future upturn in the tourist industry.

In the eighteen months to 30 June 1999 there were six tourism developments under construction in the city, worth $42 million. When completed, these will add 431 lettable units to the city’s accommodation facilities.

Dunlop House is one of twenty-five projects planned for the City of Perth. Planned projects are worth an estimated $723.5 million and will add more than 4,600 additional accommodation units to the CBD.

Colliers Jardine research manager, David Cresp said the hotel industry was likely to see an upturn in the future.

“It is a fairly tough industry at the moment. But all forecasts show figures should pick up. It looks like we have hit the bottom,” Mr Cresp said.

Mr Cresp said the Asian crisis had set the industry back but with the Olympics approaching tourist numbers should improve.

The proposed convention centre will also push demand for hotels, he said.

“At the moment Perth just doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the

numbers that would be drawn here by a convention centre,” Mr Cresp said.

Constructed in 1921, Dunlop House is considered a valuable example of commercial office buildings built

during this period.

As such, the development will incorporate the old facade while the rest of the project will be in keeping with the style of the building.

The new proposal includes a bar and restaurant, a nightclub and a art gallery.

Above the podium building, twelve levels of hotel rooms are proposed in a tower. The typical floor will contain twenty-one hotel rooms, each with a floor area of approximately thirty-eight square metres.

Levels five to sixteen will be set back between eight and twelve metres from Murray Street.

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