07/01/2022 - 15:05

Sanur puts $140m Subi plan to state after city stoush

07/01/2022 - 15:05

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Property developer Sanur has taken its $140 million Hay Street redevelopment to the state government’s expedited planning pathway, after a year at loggerheads with the City of Subiaco.

Sanur puts $140m Subi plan to state after city stoush
The shops have remained boarded up, their façades supported only by the scaffolding erected by Sanur. Photo: Jesinta Burton

Property developer Sanur has taken its $140 million Hay Street redevelopment to the state government’s expedited planning pathway, after a year at loggerheads with the City of Subiaco.

Business News understands Sanur is seeking approval to build a 12-storey office building at 450 Hay Street, with food and beverage outlets and retail on the lower two levels.

But few details about the proposal are likely to be made publicly available until consultation begins in the coming months.

The application appeared on the website of the State Development Assessment Unit overnight, a temporary pathway established in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to streamline the planning process and generate economic activity.

It was one of more than 25 to be lodged in the past fortnight ahead of the pathway's closure late yesterday.

The submission comes after Sanur’s attempts to redevelop 424-436 and 440 Hay Street into a commercial and retail precinct were stifled by local government heritage protections over the site’s existing buildings.

Despite modifications undertaken during the 1980s, the former a colourful row of seven shops built in 1912 and 1921 cinema have retained their façades - and the council considers them “contributory” to the site’s heritage and character.

But in February, a structural engineering assessment of those façades indicated they were unstable and at risk of collapse, prompting a five-month closure of a large portion of the popular cafe strip.

Sanur wanted to demolish the buildings, claiming the protections threatened to render the redevelopment of the site unworkable.

But the city fought to protect them, despite the Heritage Council of WA refusing to add the buildings to the state’s heritage register.

The two parties spent the months that followed in and out of the State Administrative Tribunal, with the tribunal, which ordered Sanur to undertake stabilisation works at the site but set aside the city’s heritage conservation notice.

Since then, the shops have remained boarded up, their façades supported only by the scaffolding erected by Sanur.

But that could change if the developer has success with the State Development Assessment Unit, which has recommended the WA Planning Commission approve every one of the 16 development applications it has been presented with.

While the WAPC must consider public submissions and be satisfied the developments are consistent with orderly and proper planning, under the pathway, it is not bound by any planning or non-planning law – Environmental Protection Authority criteria aside.

The state’s peak local government body, WALGA, has been vocal in its criticisms of the pathway, claiming it allows developers to effectively bypass local government.

But Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has repeatedly rejected that assertion, saying it simply streamlines the referrals.

Sanur could not be contacted for comment.

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