10/03/2014 - 16:46

East Perth reaching city heights

10/03/2014 - 16:46

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Parts of the East Perth skyline will start to rival the height of the central city after Finbar Group secured planning approval for what will be Perth’s tallest apartment tower.

East Perth reaching city heights
An artist's impression of Finbar's Concerto building.

Parts of the East Perth skyline will start to rival the height of the central city after Finbar Group secured planning approval for what will be Perth’s tallest apartment tower.

The City of Perth’s Development Assessment Panel approved the Concerto project, which will have 226 apartments over 38 floors.

The Concerto tower will trump the 29-level Elevation apartment tower, located at 237 Adelaide Terrace.

Elevation is one of about 10 apartment towers in Perth of more than 20 storeys.

All of these were developed over the past eight years, as Perth’s growing population and rising traffic congestion encouraged an increase in inner-city apartment projects.

The high-rise apartment buildings include Condor Towers, which famously involved the addition of 18 extra floors on top of a disused 10-storey building.

Despite the success of the award-wining Condor project, no other developments in Perth have opted for this construction technique.

However some of the city’s tallest buildings have delivered big losses for their developers after they were hit by fall-out from the GFC.

Birchwood Nominees went into administration after developing the 27-level Equus building while Diploma Group incurred losses after completing the Rise and Zenith City Centro projects.

Finbar came through the GFC in good financial condition, strengthening its position as the city’s largest apartment developer.

It has been a major contributor to East Perth’s changing skyline, completing the 25-level Reflections Towers in 2009, the 27-level Fairlanes building in 2012 and the 23-level Adagio building last year.

Finbar’s current projects include the luxury Toccata tower on Terrace Road, due for completion in 2015.

The Adagio, Toccata, and Concerto projects are all located on the former ABC site, which also has heritage buildings fronting Adelaide Terrace.

Finbar’s initial plan for Concerto involved retention of the ABC studio building, and gifting the studios to the state’s performing arts community, along with demolition of the five-level administration building.

Those plans were rejected by planning authorities last July, despite Finbar arguing it was not feasible to restore the administration building because of the significant works and cost required.

It has substantially reworked the project since then, increasing the number of apartments and the height of the new tower while also integrating the heritage buildings into the development.

With an estimated $220 million end value (up from $175 million last July), the Concerto project will be Finbar’s largest by value.

It will include 17 studio and one-bedroom apartments in the ABC administration building, which will also become an entry to the apartment tower.

Finbar is also seeking commercial uses for the three-level Studio building, which will be subdivided onto its own title.

Managing director Darren Pateman said Finbar was very aware of the heritage issues on the former ABC site.

“Whilst the former studios will be on a separate title to the new development, we will be working very hard to make sure that the ultimate use respects its heritage but also complements our development plans next door and the East Perth area as a whole,” he said. 

“We believe that this outcome is the best result for all involved and one that we will be very proud of in years to come.”

The Concerto tower’s time as Perth’s tallest could be short-lived, however, with developer Golden Group having previously released proposals for apartment towers up to 53 storeys adjoining Belmont Park racetrack in Burswood.

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