Going underground

IT¹S not just the railway which is heading underground. Plans for the new $100 million David Jones Perth flagship department store (pictured above), the first stage of which is due to open within weeks, have stretched beyond the front glass doors and down to St Georges Terrace.

A subterranean arcade linking the 1500sqm basement foodhall to the Terrace is on the retail giant¹s wish-list.

News of the David Jones arcade follows the announcement of the much bigger sub-city project this week when the Gallop Government unveiled new plans for the Perth to Mandurah rail link that will involve construction of a tunnel under the city.

As part of the $1.2 billion project, the rail line will run up the centre of the Kwinana Freeway, under William Street and link with the central city station on Wellington Street.

The Government¹s latest announcement boosts the estimated total value of major projects in the city to $2.35 billion.

The Perth Convention Centre is worth $300 million, the Woodside Building

$250 million and Cape Bouvard¹s Mounts Bay Road project $100 million.

The Westralia Square and Bishop¹s See projects are worth $300 million and$200 million respectively, but are waiting on adequate tenant pre-commitment before construction dates are finalised.

Together, the five projects are set to create up to 173,000sqm of lettable office space.And, coupled with a string of smaller residential, retail and office developments planned for the coming year, the projects have resulted in claims of a construction boom.

But the Chamber of Commerce and Industry played down these calls, labeling the sector as erratic and saying it was a long way off the construction boom seen in the late 1980s.

David Jones general manager merchandising Damian Eales said the company was examining the arcade proposal and suggested it would be a wonderful opportunity, both for the retailer, and for the city of Perth as a whole."Perth has a wonderful series of little arcades and a David Jones arcade would be a fantastic addition to that, it would be ideal," said Mr Eales, brother of Australian rugby union legend John Eales.

Perth Lord Mayor Dr Peter Nattrass said that, while he would keep an open mind on the proposal, he was apprehensive about creating too many underground arcades that took pedestrians off the streets.

MacCormac Architects, in conjunction with Woodhead International BDH, are behind the design of the renovation and construction project and have confirmed they are now waiting on the City of Perth to give some direction to the arcade proposal.

The David Jones project is one of three major city retail projects due for completion by the end of the year.

The Beaufort Street Myer Megamart, worth an estimated $30 million, and


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