West End retail moves upmarket

THE transformation of one of Perth’s more neglected streets three years ago has formed a the nucleus of a high-end retail enclave.

The ‘if you build it they will come’ mentality surrounding the King Street makeover paid off for the Perth City Council and the WA Government.

The street is now home to internationals such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

The presence of those shops and the new streetscape has brought other up market retailers such as Pierucci and Country Road to Murray Street, just around the corner from King Street.

Country Road has made Murray Street its showcase store, complete with cafe. Pierucci has moved its CBD retail outlets to its Murray Street store, next door to Country Road.

Geraldine Pierucci, co-owner of Pierucci with her husband Robert, said they had seen the potential of the area several years ago.

Mrs Pierucci said it had been the right time to move in because the area was developing into a high-end retail precinct.

The company is using its Murray Street premises as a base for its push into China and the eastern states.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass and Councillor Jim Leahy claim responsibility for the upgrade of King Street.

Dr Nattrass said the idea for the revamp grew into a committee of eight traders from King Street, including current councillor Judy McEvoy.

“Experience shows that if the council does work on the streetscape, owners take pride and start doing up their buildings,” he said.

“With the buildings done up, the owners get better tenants. And more people start visiting the area.”

PCC figures show foot traffic has in-creased considerably in the West End since the upgrade of King Street.

Councillor Laurance Goodman likened King Street to the city’s other character shopping precinct, London Court. He said that the upgrade had given the city of Perth another drawcard.

PCC CEO Garry Hunt said the council had been responsible for the streetscape works on King Street between Hay and Murray Streets. It undertook the rest of the street in partnership with the WA Government through the now defunct Perth — A City for People program.

Mr Hunt said the upgrade had not been easy. A number of public utilities such as telephone lines were buried under the street and nobody knew for sure where they were.

“When we dug up the ground to put in the big palm tree near the Rydges Hotel what we found was like spaghetti,” he said. “It was a case of open it and see.”

More than $1 million was spent on the project and a large proportion of that was for moving infrastructure.

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