At one time embroiled in a public debate over the proposed redevelopment of Perth Town Hall precinct and 121-year old Treasury Buildings, the City of Perth and the Department of Housing and Works are preparing to work together to get the project back on t
At one time embroiled in a public debate over the proposed redevelopment of Perth Town Hall precinct and 121-year old Treasury Buildings, the City of Perth and the Department of Housing and Works are preparing to work together to get the project back on track.
The government backed down on its controversial plan to build a 15,000 square metre office tower at the centre of the precinct late last year, after concerns werer raised by the lord mayor Dr Peter Nattrass, the National Trust and the then federal environment minister Ian Campbell over the design and scale of the building.
The plan included the creation of a further 2,000sq m of commercial and retail space through the ground floor of the Old Treasury Buildings and its complete refurbishment.
At a meeting on December 12, council resolved to employ consultants to work on a draft project brief for the area with the aim of guiding a detailed joint venture design and feasibility study between council and the government.
With that project brief now complete, council will next week decide whether to launch a study with the government to examine the potential reactivation of the Old Treasury Buildings, as well as the demolition of the Law Chambers Building and the Public Trustee Building, for a public open space called ‘Cathedral Square’.
The study would also include an investigation into the costs involved in compensating land owners, the Public Trustee and the Perth Diocesan.
Lord mayor Dr Nattrass said that all parties wanted to rejuvenate the precinct and were working together to make it happen.
“All parties agree that it is preferable to look at all the aspects of the redevelopment together, because they all intertwine in some way” he told WA Business News.
“I think this project is bigger than the creation of Forrest Place and will require close collaboration.”
Dr Nattrass said he was keen to have the City Library located within the Land Titles Building and believed if the city were to refurbish the space and take a 99-year lease, the government could save money and put this back into Cathedral Square.
If the feasibility study gets the green light by council and the department, it is understood this may lead to a new design tender for a multi-storey office to house the Treasury and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, as well as a design competition for cathedral Square.
Advisor to the project, architect and town planner Ken Adam, said it was possible that the parties could eventually tender for a multi-disciplinary firm or group of firms comprising a team of architects and urban planners to come up with a new design for the precinct.
It was also possible the development of the square could proceed ahead of the final development of the Old Treasury buildings, he said.
However, the parties would have to take into account the essential relationship between the two properties, particularly in regard to access and parking.
“We’re in the process of forming design guidelines and this is what the feasibility study is for, producing a set of essential design principles together for the development of the buildings and square,” Mr Adam said.