14/05/2009 - 00:00

Scarborough revamp on hold

14/05/2009 - 00:00

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THE revitalisation of the Scarborough coastal strip has been halted indefinitely, with the State Administrative Tribunal hearings into the Observation City redevelopment appeal adjourned until further notice.

Scarborough revamp on hold
ON HOLD: Hearings into the Observation City redevelopment appeal adjourned until further notice. Photo: Tim van Bronswijk

THE revitalisation of the Scarborough coastal strip has been halted indefinitely, with the State Administrative Tribunal hearings into the Observation City redevelopment appeal adjourned until further notice.

The case adjourned after five days of hearings, and has reportedly gone back to mediation between the parties.

Lawyers for the building's owner, Straits Trading Company, launched an appeal with SAT after the luxury apartment and boutique hotel development proposal was rejected by the City of Stirling last August.

The SAT was due to hand down its recommendation to the minister this month, but last week the tribunal adjourned proceedings with the consent of both parties.

The reason behind the adjournment is unclear, but WA Business News understands it could be because of a new district planning scheme 3, currently being considered by council, which could have an influence on the development.

The new dates for the hearing have not been set.

The City of Stirling said it was awaiting the formal orders from SAT with regards to where the case will head from this point.

In a statement, Straits president Norman Ip said the hotel was carrying on with business as usual, with the current economic climate not an ideal time to launch a luxury apartment project of this scale.

The $120 million revamp of the hotel involves the conversion of the existing 333 hotel rooms into 102 luxury apartments, with a new boutique 142-room hotel built alongside the building.

Tourism WA said the redevelopment would be devastating for the coastal suburb, which would lose a large number of hotel rooms.

Paul Regan, president of the Scarborough Beach Tourism Association, said he was disappointed with the process and with the progressive commercial and employment decline in Scarborough.

"I feel great sympathy for Straits and their consultants having put so much time and money to have it thwarted and frustrated on a petty-fogging, mindless technicality which paid no regard, nor had any respect for the amount of private and public money already tied up in this appeal process," he said.

"There's no point having 300 rooms in one location when there's nothing for the occupants of those rooms to do."

Also in Scarborough, plans for the redevelopment of the White Sands Tavern into a 12-storey mixed-use development has also been shelved, with developers API delaying the project until market conditions improve.

The development was considered the most likely to be the first to proceed after Planning Minister John Day approved amendment 458 to the town planning scheme last November, allowing for higher density development in certain areas.

Plans for the site included the construction of up to 160 residential units and 80 tourist accommodation units, as well as a new pub/bistro and TAB facilities.

Amendment 458 allowed for developments of up to 12 stories on three sites - the White Sands Tavern, BP service station and Scarborough Fair Markets.

There are currently no development plans progressed on either of the latter two sites.

The revamp of Observation City, along with planning scheme amendments, were designed to revitalise and improve coastal suburb by providing a range of new, affordable and upmarket residential options and additional short-stay tourism accommodation.

Cape Bouvard's CeVue luxury apartments on West Coast Highway will be the first new development on the Scarborough beachfront in 15 years and will add 21 short-stay apartments when it is completed in early 2010.

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