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Paragon proposal hits snag

AN application to convert 153 units in the Paragon CBD Apartments development in the city to serviced apartments has been rejected by the City of Perth.

Paragon CBD Apartments owner Westpoint Group plans to appeal the decision and will continue to push for changes in usage for a number of the residential units.

Westpoint Group managing director Norm Carey said he felt that, given the location of the building, it was an excellent site for serviced apartments.

However it’s understood a number of local hotels and serviced apartment operators have objected to the application.

“Paragon Apartments was always designed off a sister project in Sydney at Number 2 Bond Street,” Mr Carey said.

“It’s really just about a technicality in the City of Perth’s Town Planning Scheme.”

He said about 60 per cent of the apartments in the development were sold, however a number of owners who had purchased the property as an investment were keen to convert the units to serviced apartments.

“It’s fair to say the Paragon Apartments were a pioneering city apartment project,” Mr Carey said.

“We’ve got major projects in Melbourne and Sydney and they’re just five or 10 years ahead of the Perth market.

“But with the baby boomers coming through there are more people opting for inner-city living.”

One local analyst said a lack of parking and the price of the apartments had affected the popularity of the project.

“Generally true inner-city development hasn’t worked in Perth,” he said.

“Perth just doesn’t have the vibe of cities like Sydney and Melbourne.”

Councillor Tess Stroud said that to keep life in the city it was important to ensure buildings were fully utilised.

“At the moment the apartments are not selling and to me it’s a shame to have an empty building in the city,” she said.

“I think they haven’t used all the plot ratio bonus they were given.”

Councillor Stroud proposed an alternative motion to approve the item, however it was not carried.

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