The battle to secure the first development plots at Elizabeth Quay has intensified after the field narrowed to just two bidders this week.
It’s understood just two consortia remain in the race to build the first hotel and apartment towers on the waterside land, after the Spencer Green group dropped out of contention.
The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority is overseeing the carve-up of the land at Elizabeth Quay and, according to sources close to the sale process, an announcement is likely within weeks.
The successful party will gain massive exposure given the public interest in Elizabeth Quay, but these big-ticket projects have a new gravitas in the face of a slowing economy.
The parties bidding for major projects like Elizabeth Quay and the new stadium at Burswood invest millions to pitch for this work, and with few other big projects on the horizon failure may have far-reaching ramifications.
The consulting sectors such as architecture and engineering rely on a steady flow of projects to pay their staff and survive.
Most of the city’s architecture firms have slimmed down in the past few years and there may be more job cuts to come, especially when firms miss out on major contracts.
One senior consultant warned the combination of high construction costs in Western Australia and weak business sentiment was fuelling uncertainty.
“The market is getting soft, there are not a lot of extremely large projects out there … and while there is some interest (in new development proposals) around the place, nobody is doing a lot,” he said.
“We have noticed, particularly among the engineering consultants, there have been a reasonable amount of redundancies and the design industries are facing the same thing.”
As many as 14 groups threw their hat in the ring for the hotel site and apartment development land at Elizabeth Quay, but that list was whittled back to just three by the end of May.
The MRA is expected to name the successful bidder in July.