13/08/2014 - 12:13

Subi markets not for private sector: developer

13/08/2014 - 12:13

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Subi markets not for private sector: developer
An artist's impression of the Station Street markets proposal.

The developer behind an $80 million shopping centre proposal at Subiaco’s Station Street Markets has responded to outcry over the loss of the markets by saying such facilities are the responsibility of local government rather than the private sector.

Plans emerged yesterday for a Coles and Target-anchored centre at the Station Street Markets site, put forward by local developer Windsor Knight.

A development application, which is set to be lodged with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority by the end of the week, includes between 13,000 and 14,000 square metres of retail space, as well as 4,800sqm of commercial office space.

Along with a Target department store on the first level and a ground-floor Coles supermarket, the development will include a mixture of specialty shops, cafes and bars.

Negotiations for an anchor tenant to take up around 1,500sqm of the office component of the project are ongoing.

The project has been designed by Taylor Robinson Architects and will be funded by a mixture of Windsor Knight’s existing equity and debt finance.

Providing the plan is approved by the MRA, construction of the four-level project should take around 20 months.

Windsor Knight director Greg Pearce, who is progressing the development in joint venture with Seafocus Holdings’ Bruce Brown, said market analysis done by South Perth-based Pracsys showed a retail and office development at the markets site was a much more viable alternative than the status quo.

“Local governments are who provide market sites, it’s not the private sector, because they simply don’t stack up commercially” Mr Pearce told Business News.

“There is a specific power within the Local Government Act for councils to raise money and build markets, it’s there for them to do that.”

Mr Pearce said he had informed the City of Subiaco when the company did its first development at the site – an office building at 38 Station Street – that the loss of the markets was inevitable.

“I said we would help and give them the benefit of our experience with the markets so they could replace it, because I understand how important it is,” he said.

“But the reality is, it’s not a commercial proposition for that site for us.”

Mr Pearce said the popularity of the Station Street Markets, even after the establishment of a weekend farmers’ market on Rokeby Road, showed there was room in Subiaco for that type of retail development.

“It has to be in the right location though, you can’t put it anywhere,” he said.

“It has to be quite specific and the council has those options and has always had those options, it’s just chosen not do anything about it.

“That’s really the frustrating thing about it from our point of view.

“Everyone knew the markets were closing, we had told them and confirmed that.”

City of Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said the markets had played a significant role in Subiaco and would be missed by the community.

Ms Henderson said planning authority for the site was in the hands of the MRA, while the city was also formulating plans for an alternative markets site.

“The city is committed to revitalising the whole of the town centre through place making and appropriate development,” she said.

“We’re working on a range of exciting projects, including an upgrade of the Forrest Square car park with potential infrastructure for market-type activities.”  

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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