Apartment developer Finbar Group has won approval to go ahead with its third major new project in South Perth, amid continuing debate over the appropriateness of high-density projects for the suburb.
Finbar’s new project is a nine-storey, $51 million, 42-apartment development on Harper Terrace, which will also comprise 1,800 square metres of commercial space and rooftop facilities.
Marketing of the apartments is expected to be launched in May, with construction scheduled to begin early next year.
Finbar currently has two other South Perth proposals on its books – the $135 million, 118-apartment Aurelia and the $415 million, 294-apartment Civic Heart, both in close proximity to the Harper Terrace proposal, pictured below.
Managing director Darren Pateman said South Perth was one of Finbar’s most important markets, while also thanking the City of South Perth and the metropolitan central development assessment panel for their support.
However, opportunities for large-scale apartment towers in South Perth could be fewer on the ground in coming years, if a proposed change to the suburb’s planning guidelines is adopted by the council.
In October, the City of South Perth held an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the possibility of removing special design guidelines for properties on the northern end of the South Perth peninsula, limiting development to between nine and 12 storeys.
The current planning regime is designed to encourage high-density residential development, with height limits removed to attract projects which would then bolster the case for the construction of a South Perth train station along the Mandurah line.
Around 20,000sqm of developable land would be affected by the changes, if they are approved.
The impetus for the change is long-running protests against high-density development by Save the Peninsula South Perth Action Group, a group of residents concerned over what they consider to be inadequate planning processes in the city.
One of the projects singled out by the group is Edge Visionary Living’s Lumiere, a 29-storey tower proposed to be built at 74 Mill Point Road that was approved by the DAP last year.
The action group says a 29-level tower with limited setbacks from the street is inappropriate for the peninsula and development should be limited to a much smaller scale.
However, Save the Peninsula is not the only action group lobbying the South Perth council.
Another grassroots movement, Better South Perth, was established last month to muster support for the council to leave the planning guidelines as they are now, in order to continue to encourage further population growth.
The Better South Perth group comprises town planners, architects, developers and South Perth residents, as well as former South Perth mayor James Best, who said the amendment had the potential to block the construction of up to 1,000 new apartments.
Better South Perth spokesperson Paul Plowman told Business News he believed there was no real justification for the amendments, other than to placate a vocal minority of opposition, some of whom are apartment residents in South Perth who would have their views affected by new development.
Mr Plowman said he was also concerned that landowners who had aggregated land for apartment development would be holding stranded assets if the changes are endorsed.
“We also believe that if council adopts these changes, the ability for the government to build a train station is hugely reduced,” he said.
Mr Plowman said the Better South Perth group also questioned the timing of the advertisement of the changes for public comment, with the December-January period against normal council policy.
The public comment period on the proposed amendment closes on Friday.