Office buildings go boutique ...

THE Read office development may draw the attention of CBD tenants away from the heights of office towers, with its unique style, premium location and lower rents.

Set on the corner of Hay and Milligan streets, The Read is a $12 million project that will blend the facades of two existing heritage buildings with a modern five-storey office development.

Designed by Perrine & Birch architects, well-known for their work on Subiaco’s Colonnade and Northbridge’s Cinema Paradiso, The Read will offer about 3000sqm of net lettable office space and 500sqm of retail space.

And according to developer and architect Jean-Mic Perrine, the boutique office building was likely to attract tenants who wanted to maintain an identity.

“I think a lot of people at the forefront of their respective in-dustries value their identity and point of difference enough to want to be in a context where they are not one of 100, but rather one of two or three,” Mr Perrine said.

“The building will have a high profile, in what is a high-profile area.

“It will be premium office accommodation in a smaller building, which means there will be a significant dollar advantage, in terms of rents, for people who want to move in.”

Office space rents have been estimated at between $260 and $300 per sqm, a sizeable drop from the $360 per sqm asking price in Hawaiian’s Futuris 239 and Kerry Packer’s Westralia Square.

The Read also will be completed before other CBD office tower projects, starting early in the new year and finishing within 10 to 12 months.

The process will involve gutting the interiors of the two buildings on the 931 Hay Street site and constructing a new office behind the maintained facades.

“Developing a synergy between the highly decorative building, which is representative of the best production of that period, and the most sophisticated modern building which grows out of that,” Mr Perrine said.

He said the office development would include all available inform-ation technology infrastruc-ture that would make office networking “a breeze”.

... and so do Perth’s hotelsp Catie Low

THE Outram, Perth’s first boutique hotel development, has attracted considerable attention ahead of any serious pitch to the market.

Designed by Grounds Kent, the five-storey development is a mix of residential apartments and boutique hotel.

Two of the apartments have already sold off the plans and a further one is under offer.

Jewel Hospitality tourism consultant Pauline Tew said work on the $5 million development in Outram Street in West Perth is scheduled to begin in 2002.

“The business is really required here,” Ms Tew said.

“We did some market research and were amazed at how many room nights we’ll be able to get just locally.

“There’s Cape Lodge down south but there hasn’t been anywhere to put clients in Perth of this standard.”

The one-bedroom apartments are priced at $275,000, and

the two bedroom apartments are $480,000, with the pent-

houses on the top two floors selling for $530,000.

The residential development not only supports the cost of the hotel, it also adds life and vitality to the complex.

It’s an ambitious project but, for Ms Tew and her husband, who also is a tourism consultant, the market is crying out for a boutique hotel to service the business community in West Perth and the city.

“We owned the Margaret River Hotel, which we sold out of in 1997, and we felt then the niche market was missing a small boutique hotel,” Ms Tew said.

“It took us three years to find the site … and then to get a permit for a hotel we had to incorporate residential.

Easy access to both the city and West Perth and facilities like the Kings Park Tennis Club made West Perth an obvious choice.

A sign posted outside the office, housed in the old building on the site for the new hotel, has generated interest from people just walking by.

“We haven’t even gone to the marketplace it’s all been done by just putting out a sign and waiting to see what happens,” Ms Tew said.

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