29/09/2016 - 11:44

Perth's new icon revealed at Elizabeth Quay

29/09/2016 - 11:44

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A public art gallery and viewing platform 45 storeys above the ground will create a new tourist drawcard at Elizabeth Quay, with the latest development at the state government’s flagship redevelopment project unveiled today.

Perth's new icon revealed at Elizabeth Quay
Kerry Hill Architects' winning design for Elizabeth Quay.

A public art gallery and viewing platform 45 storeys above the ground will create a new tourist drawcard at Elizabeth Quay, with the latest development at the state government’s flagship redevelopment project unveiled today.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher today announced the completion of an $85 million deal to sell two plots of land on the western edge of the quay to CA & Associates, a joint venture between Adrian Fini’s Fini Group, and Malaysian developer Victor Goh’s AAIG.

CA & Associates ran an international design competition, which attracted eight entries, with Kerry Hill Architects named today as the winner.

“Most importantly, the community has been very much front and centre in the design that’s been put forward by Kerry,” Ms Faragher said.

“I am absolutely delighted, not only that the lots have been sold to CA & Associates, but that we will, once constructed, have another element to Elizabeth Quay which will be something that everyone from Western Australia can be proud of.”

The project, known as EQ West, will cost around $300 million to construct and will comprise two towers – one of 45 storeys, which will be apartments topped by the art gallery and viewing platform, and a 20-storey serviced apartments and hotel development.

The viewing platform and art gallery will provide visitors with views to Rottnest, the Perth Hills, and beyond.

Mr Hill said he considered the site to be Perth’s most prominent development plot, with the building’s design befitting that stature.

“It’s been designed as a marker for the city, a beacon of light at night, and the public realm has been a large part of our design thinking,” Mr Hill told reporters today.

“Of course it is housing private residential apartments but the public realm is, as the minister said, right up front.

“We’ll have a very porous ground plane, which is full of retail, food and beverage, a very large plaza, which is in many ways a gift to the City of Perth.

“It’s a covered plaza, open to the public 24 hours a day and it occupies 20 per cent of the site we’re standing on and it will be used for a great range and variety of events, whether it’s a sculpture exhibition or a concert of some kind.”

Mr Hill said the lower five floors of the taller tower would also be accessible to the public, whether that be function space, food and beverage facilities, a health club or temporary office space.

But it was the art gallery and viewing platform that made the project iconic, Mr Hill said.

“We’ve also designed, because of its location, what I would call a penthouse for the people of Perth and the visitors to Perth,” he said.

“It’s designed as a two, possibly three-storey gallery space, an art museum, a viewing platform and a food and beverage space.

“You actually have 360 degree views from this space, you can see the lighthouse on Rottnest, you can see over the escarpment, you can see south over the river, and of course to the north.

“We would hope that this becomes a must see or must go to destination, not just for the people of Perth but particularly visitors from overseas and interstate.

“For us, we’ve taken the public realm from the horizontal, which it is normally assumed to be, up into the stars.”

Architect Kerry Hill considers the vast public plaza proposed at EQ West as a gift to the City of Perth.

Negotiations with operators for the serviced apartments and the hotel are ongoing, but Fini Group’s Kyle Jeavons said he expected those to be finalised within two months.

He said CA & Associates was keen to start work as soon as possible, with a development application lodged this week with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

Subject to approval, construction is expected to begin by the end of next year, with EQ West scheduled to open to the public in late 2019.

“Some presales would probably be required but we plan on going ahead with the project,” Mr Jeavons said.

“The hotel and the serviced apartments have both gone out to the market now for expressions of interest, and we expect to have that resolved in the next two months.”

Ms Faragher said the MRA would now launch the sales process for the two remaining lots at Elizabeth Quay, with total land sales now exceeding the government’s targets.

“When Elizabeth Quay was first put forward it was expected that the land sales in total would come to $170 million,’’ she said.

“We’ve actually reached that now, with another lot still to go and another in an exclusive negotiation period.

“We have gone well beyond what the government thought would be achieved.”

Ms Faragher said the MRA was confident it would be able to achieve a positive result with the remaining land at Elizabeth Quay, as well as nine plots at Perth City Link, which will be released to market in coming weeks.

“The confidence is high that we will get a sale,” she said. 

Donna Faragher and Kerry Hill speak to reporters at today's project unveiling. Photo: Attila Csaszar

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