Revamp in store for Perth’s malls

AFTER years of neglect, the big city malls are finally getting a major facelift as the City of Perth addresses the fierce competition of the major regional shopping Centre.

The malls Draft Concept Plan, released by the City of Perth, outlines investment worth more than $10 million over five years for the major public spaces in the retail vicinity of the city.

The concept plan, available for public comment until mid February, addresses a range of design and function issues for the Hay Street and Murray Street Malls, Forrest Place and the City Station forecourt.

The enhancement of the open spaces, thought to be well overdue by a number of major retailers in the city, has been prompted in part by falling visitor numbers to the city and the aggressive marketing activities of the major suburban shopping centres.

The design details of the concept plan are aimed at reinvigorating the city malls and attracting people back into the city as a destination, rather than just a retail centre.

Last September, the City of Perth was presented with a proposal to privatise the promotion of the city as a shopping destination.

One of the major issues that came out of the research commissioned by ING, who has a half share in Forrest Chase, was an upgrade of major public space.

ING Director Brian Armstrong said the City of Perth Draft Concept Plan fell short of the recommendations in the initial proposal.

“We submitted our proposal in the middle of last year and now they’ve come back with recommendations. It’s short of what we wanted, but we’re willing to work with the City of Perth to make the changes,” Mr Armstrong said.

The City of Perth Lord Mayor Dr Peter Natrass has identified three major design elements of the malls that need to be addressed to spark up the city – paving, lighting and more prominent entry statements for the malls.

The Draft Concept Plan addresses a far broader range of issues, including the interface with the proposed new rail route along William Street.

The concept reinforces the importance of any new rail route, linking directly into the pedestrian malls.

The main elements of the Concept Plan are focused on the diverse range of activities that take place in the city, not just the retail activities.

Careful consideration is also given to the points of difference between the city and the major regional shopping centres.

The City of Perth faces a challenge to link a number of public spaces with a number of landmark heritage buildings, including the impressive GPO building.

The wide ranging enrichment plans will be undertaken over a five year period with works beginning this year.

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