22/05/2007 - 22:00

Property punters like the high life

22/05/2007 - 22:00

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The CBD skyline will be transformed before the decade is out as developers move ahead with the construction of new apartment buildings across the city.

Property punters like the high life

The CBD skyline will be transformed before the decade is out as developers move ahead with the construction of new apartment buildings across the city.

Major projects include Capital Square, 18 The Esplanade, Luxxo, Altus, Reflections and Royale, all of which aim to meet the growing demands and changing tastes of down-sizing baby boomers and their cashed-up kids.

The developments are expected to boost Perth’s residential housing stocks by about 1,000 apartments a year for the next five years, with the majority to be contributed by developers Saville Australia and Finbar.

Snaring the iconic 18,000 square metre former Emu Brewery site last year, Saville Australia and investment bank Babcock & Brown are planning to build three towers comprising more than 1,000 apartments and 10,000sq m of commercial and retail space on the corner of Mounts Bay Road and Spring Street. 

Saville Australia director Vic Levy said the Capital Square project was a once-in-a-lifetime development in the city, which would transform Perth’s west end into a vibrant entertainment and lifestyle precinct by 2011.

“This is an extraordinary site and location and we are thrilled to be making this contribution to Perth,” he said.

Planning Perth’s tallest residential tower at 41 storeys has presented a number of challenges, not least the potential wind impact and rising construction costs.

Despite the effect of the latter on most projects in Perth, it is the lack of qualified building contractors and sub contractors in town that is considered the greatest threat to the residential apartment sector among developers.

Finbar managing director John Chan said there was no doubt there would be some developers either unable to start work, or intentionally delaying starts, as a result of the shortage of suitable contractors in Perth.

“The supply of new apartments in WA is already modest by national standards. You compare this with our strong population growth and you can see why the growth of the apartment sector is being restricted by shortages,” he said.

Finbar currently has six sites with 600 lots under construction in the city, with another six city sites and 635 lots scheduled to commence progressively over the next 12 months.

Mr Chan said Finbar had three Perth builders that worked exclusively on its projects, giving it more control over commencements.

Its design focus now was to keep projects affordable in order to meet the increasing demand for affordable inner-city living including a good supply of one-bedroom apartments, he said.

Outside of the CBD, the most significant residential apartment building projects under way include Mirvac’s $1 billion Peninsula development at Burswood, with more than 1,000 apartments to be built through to 2012.

Although still in the planning phase, Scarborough’s 18-storey Rendezvous Observation City hotel is another significant project by construction budget, with $200 million expected to be spent converting the iconic building into luxury apartments alongside a new, eight-storey five-star hotel above its existing liquor barn.

In the same vicinity, Cape Bouvard is spending $150 million building 78-apartments and 21-short stay apartments in an eight-storey complex on the corner of Brighton Road and The Esplanade.

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