25/06/2018 - 15:36

Iconic Scarborough on the cusp of approval

25/06/2018 - 15:36

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A key government advisory body has recommended the Iconic Scarborough twin-tower project be given the green light when the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority board meets tomorrow.

The $450 million project was knocked back by the MRA in December and has since undergone a redesign. Photo: Hillam Architects

A key government advisory body has recommended the Iconic Scarborough twin-tower project be given the green light when the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority board makes its decision tomorrow.

The MRA board will meet tomorrow morning to deliver its decision on whether 3 Oceans Property’s revised proposal for a 43- and 33-storey mixed-use development on the corner of West Coast Highway and Scarborough Beach Road (the former Contacio site) will go ahead.

Designed by Hillam Architects, the $450 million development was rejected by the MRA in December last year on the basis that the board considered the application to be a significant overdevelopment of the site, determining the critical mass of residents, workers and visitors on one site to have serious impacts on local traffic.

3 Oceans Property submitted a second application with revised designs to the MRA in March this year as part of a mediation process, with plans featuring slimmer towers and a larger focus on tourism.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the Scarborough Land Redevelopment Committee, which meets monthly to provide determinations or recommendations to the MRA board on certain developments, sat through deputations from community members, key stakeholders and the applicant to consider the project.

The LRC subsequently resolved to recommend that the MRA board rescind its decision made in December to refuse the application and grant Iconic Scarborough development approval, subject to recommended conditions.

Supporting its recommendation, the LRC noted in a report, which forms the agenda for the MRA meeting tomorrow, that the revised proposal had a number of improvements including: that: it now achieved design excellence, as advised by the Design Mediation Panel; it had reduced in intensity with respect to the gross floor area; and it provided multiple community benefits nominated within the Scarborough Design Guidelines.

The tourism potential, via the proposal’s three-level public viewing deck and WA Coastal Experience Centre, was another reason the LRC gave for its support of the project, along with the quality of development expected to act as a catalyst for future development in Scarborough and the number of job opportunities created through construction (anticipated to provide 2,200 construction jobs) as an incentive for approval.

The LRC also noted the supportive submissions from the City of Stirling and Main Roads WA - the responsible authorities for the surrounding road network.

The revised design comprises the west tower maintaining its height at 43 levels, with the east tower at 33 levels, however, the width of the towers had been significantly reduced, cutting the total number of residential apartments from 345 to 314, with 37 of these earmarked as affordable housing apartments.

Hotel accommodation was also reduced from 159 to 119 rooms, resulting in 72 per cent total site coverage, down from 80 per cent, with the number of car bays also decreasing from 834 to 720 bays.

The original proposal (left) and the revised design. Image: Hillam Architects

The development also has plans for retail food and beverage facilities at the ground floor, lower level exhibition space and a top floor art gallery cafe with a public viewing area. 

The LRC acknowledged the increased height, yet the overall reduction in scale, stating in the report that the slender tower forms outweighed the potential impacts such as early morning overshadowing on the beach foreshore - a key rebuttal given against the development during community consultation.

Height was one of the major concerns by those against the project, with key points from the deputation discussions including: the proposal’s inconsistency with the MRA Scarborough Master Plan only allowing for 18 storeys; that the approval would set a precedent for height on other sites in the area; and that it would impact on Scarborough’s beach culture and identity.

The MRA received a total of 1,445 submissions during the public consultation period, including 794 submissions in support (54.9 per cent) and 636 not in support (44 per cent), with 14 neutral submissions (1 per cent).

In its report the LRC noted results of the MRA’s consultation confirmed substantial public interest in the proposed development but did not conclusively demonstrate a consensus of opinion overall.

An its June 19 meeting it received 25 public deputations, with five of these in support and 20 against, from local residents and community groups.

The LRC also received a petition from a group known as ‘Sunsets not Skyscrapers’ that presented 1,400 signatories requesting the MRA board reject the proposal.

However, in April, independent research undertaken by local analyst firm Property ESP over two days demonstrated 63 per cent support for the proposal from 890 respondents, which included local residents as well as local, interstate and overseas visitors.

Property ESP managing director Samantha Reece, who also heads up the WA Apartment Advocacy said at the time of the release of the research that as with any project dealing with height in the Perth area, the vocal minority tended to dominate discussions.

“3 Oceans literally took to the streets to see what the unbiased opinion was of the masses,” she said.

“There is a level of resistance in Perth to height but as this research demonstrates, this is not the view of the majority and hence it was essential that this research was undertaken to demonstrate that the 3 Oceans proposal in fact will add value to the area and beyond.”

The MRA board will make its decision tomorrow, with a public announcement anticipated soon after.  

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