03/12/2008 - 22:00

Scarborough high-rise go ahead

03/12/2008 - 22:00

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Australasian Property Investments is going ahead with the development of Scarborough's first high-rise development after an amendment removing height restrictions received ministerial approval, while plans for high-rise apartments are underway in Cotteslo

Australasian Property Investments is going ahead with the development of Scarborough's first high-rise development after an amendment removing height restrictions received ministerial approval, while plans for high-rise apartments are underway in Cottesloe.

Last week, Planning Minister John Day approved amendment 458 to the City of Stirling town-planning scheme, which allows developments of up to eight stories in the scheme area around West Coast Highway and Scarborough Beach Road.

Three sites - currently occupied by the BP service station, Scarborough Fair Markets and White Sands Tavern - have been given approval to go to a maximum height of 12 storeys, provided developments meet certain criteria for public space and access.

The approval is the culmination of almost 14 years of lobbying by business and interest groups, particularly the tourism industry, which has been working to remove planning restrictions on new developments designed to revitalise the area and enhance amenity.

Sunset Coast Tourism Association president Paul Regan applauded the approval of the amendment, but said the approval in itself would not lead to developments being built straight away.

"It doesn't mean immediate development, it allows for meaningful development to happen in the future," Mr Regan said.

But, he believes, the amendment doesn't go far enough, calling for further height allowances of up to 20 storeys to meet the current needs of the area.

"What was appropriate 14 years ago is no longer appropriate," he said.

"Scarborough is in a total commercial decline. Ten years ago there were 12 retail outlets in the lobby of Observation City hotel, today there are none," he said.

"Scarborough has been totally ruined by the inept, inadequate and incompetent regulation by the City of Stirling's planning department.

"Tall is not bad, bad architecture is bad."

While there are a number of site owners in the scheme area considering developments, the re-development of the White Sands Hotel site is likely to be the first to proceed.

Owner API is currently working with Daglish-based architect Oldfield Knott on design plans for the 12-storey development, which will include residential and short-stay apartments, as well as potential commercial and retail components.

The existing building will be demolished, with the development to include a rebuilt pub/bistro and TAB facilities, along with up to 160 residential units and 80 tourist accommodation units.

Submission to council of the development application is expected by April 2009.

API director Peter Hughes said the company had been waiting almost 17 months from when the City of Stirling passed the amendment to receipt of ministerial approval to proceed with its development plans.

"We couldn't arrange anything until we had planning certainty," he said.

Sites previously mooted for redevelopment include Scarborough Fair Markets, a residential and retail development by Peter's By the Sea owners the Kakulas family, Luna Maxi Mart, and a hotel on Scarborough Beach Road which currently houses hospitality group Seashells' head office.

The proposed conversion of Observation City into a residential apartment tower and eight-storey boutique hotel is to be determined by the planning minister, with a decision expected in the first half of 2009.

Meanwhile, development to a height of eight storeys is also being planned for Cottesloe, with the owners of the Ocean Beach Hotel and the Cottesloe Beach Hotel releasing plans for apartment and hotel complexes at their respective sites.

The $250 million development at the Ocean Beach Hotel includes plans for an eight-storey hotel and residential apartments.

Cottesloe Beach Hotel owner Multiplex is also planning a $100 million eight-storey development, which would include about 46 residential apartments and 20 short-stay units.

Both developers say the projects will only be viable if they're allowed to build to eight storeys.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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