25/11/2010 - 00:00

Georgiou ruling boosts Stirling proposal

25/11/2010 - 00:00

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PLANS to develop a major ‘city centre’ at Innaloo have been given a boost after Planning Minister John Day took the rare step of intervening in a long-running dispute between Georgiou Capital and the City of Stirling.

Georgiou ruling boosts Stirling proposal

PLANS to develop a major ‘city centre’ at Innaloo have been given a boost after Planning Minister John Day took the rare step of intervening in a long-running dispute between Georgiou Capital and the City of Stirling.

Mr Day has granted conditional approval to Georgiou’s six-storey retail and commercial development near the IKEA store.

His approval will be good news for other private landowners in the area, namely the Fini family and Lex Property, which are evaluating development options.

The private developments will be part of the ambitious Stirling City Centre proposal, which envisages 25,000 extra jobs and 30,000 residents in the area over the next three decades.

Work towards the city centre project progressed on another front this month, when the City of Stirling council approved the referral of a $500 million infrastructure application to the state government.

The state will now consider making a formal application to Infrastructure Australia for federal government funds.

City of Stirling planning director Ross Povey said the infrastructure package included an extension of Stephenson Avenue from Scarborough Beach Road to a new Mitchell Freeway interchange, and the establishment of a light rail link from Stirling to Glendalough train stations.

“In order to create a city centre, we need to put the infrastructure in place,” Mr Povey told WA Business News.

“There is not much more land that can be released without more infrastructure.”

It is likely the federal government will be asked to meet 75 per cent of the infrastructure bill, with the state paying 19 per cent and the local council 6 per cent.

The overall development sits under the umbrella of the Stirling Alliance, which includes the City of Stirling, the WA Planning Commission, Main Roads and other agencies.

Mr Povey said the intention was to intensify land use, with a mix of commercial, residential and retail developments in the proposed city centre.

The extension of Stephenson Avenue – to be renamed Stephenson Boulevard – and other road works would be designed to make a pedestrian-friendly high street, linking the Innaloo shopping centre with the Stirling train station and commercial developments further north.

However, private developers led by Georgiou have viewed the City of Stirling as a roadblock.

That has been changed by the intervention of Mr Day, who said the Georgiou project was likely to be a catalyst for further development.

“Residents will benefit from mixed land use, which will lead to a broader range of services and employment opportunities,” he said in a statement.

“Given its proximity to the Stirling train station, this proposal is consistent with the principles outlined in Directions 2031, the new activity centres policy and the transit oriented development policy.”

Mr Day also noted that: “approval for this development should not be taken as a precedent for the conditions which will apply to other developments in the station precinct, particularly residential requirements.”

Georgiou Capital’s John Siamos welcomed the ruling, saying the proposed development was appropriate for a city centre.

The development includes 5,800 square metres of office space, 654sqm of retail space and 133 car bays.

It will cover 97 per cent of the 2,400sqm site, compared to the preferred site coverage of 30 per cent under the existing planning scheme.

The council also wanted a residential component; however Georgiou argued that the current lack of amenity and uncertainty over infrastructure development made this unviable.

The two parties also differed over the plot ratio, the number of car bays and other factors.

The only completed development within the city centre precinct is the IKEA store, which totals 26,000sqm and adjacent retail buildings.

“The IKEA development, which is neither a preferred nor a contemplated use within Precinct 4, was permitted on the basis that it would be a catalyst for further development,” Mr Day said in his ruling.

“Plainly, that hope has not been realised.

“The proposed development, unlike the IKEA development, presents an opportunity to introduce preferred uses into Precinct 4 and promote the realisation of a number of regional and local planning objectives.”

Mr Day said that, if the proposed development was refused, “I am not confident that a similar opportunity will arise in the foreseeable future”.

The timing of further commercial developments in the city centre rests partly with the state government, which has nominated the precinct as one of the potential locations for the decentralisation of its CBD offices.

The Fini family is eyeing this opportunity for its large landholding in the area.

Lex Property, which developed the IKEA store at a cost of $103 million, also has a small landholding.

Another likely development is the expansion of the Westfield Innaloo shopping centre, which is likely to extend north on the site of the Westfield-owned Innaloo Megamart.

Mr Day said a working draft of a new Stirling City Centre structure plan was available for informal comment until December 10. It will be formally advertised in early 2011.

 

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