Next time you’re heading in to Perth’s CBD, stop for a moment and look up. Take a minute to drink in the skyline, and the way the city looks from a distance – because it may not be long before there are dozens of new additions that will change the view forever.
Executive director of Property Council WA Lino Iacomella recently suggested that Perth could benefit from having a stronger urban brand to allow international visitors to easily identify the city. The major wave of construction that is set to break over the CBD could well generate that brand, leading to a more recognisable, unique skyline.
There are 30 new building projects in the CBD and Northbridge area that are either under construction or soon to begin, with a further 30 spread across East and West Perth. One notable development literally on the horizon is a 52-storey apartment and hotel complex slated for Milligan Street. At a mere 179m tall, however, it will be only the fifth-highest building in the CBD. The honour of the city’s tallest structure is currently held by Rio Tinto’s 249m Central Park building… currently. Plans are proceeding apace for a 485-room hotel building with a further 60 serviced apartments on the site of St Andrew’s Church.
And let’s not forget the other major construction mooted for the city – Perth’s very own World Trade Centre. The $1.85 billion complex is planned to stretch from Stirling Street to Wellington Street and, at 75 storeys, will contain a convention centre, shops, offices and hotel space. With the proposal currently under discussion, this project alone could allow the city to be known internationally.
But the main benefit of all these projects is likely to be the sharp increase in accommodation options. The majority of the buildings are intended to act either as hotels or apartments, all of which will help to house the major influx of people predicted to hit the area in the next twenty years. A localised construction boom could go some considerable way towards preparing the ground for the new arrivals. That in turn could help activate street life, bringing in additional retail business and creating the more vibrant feeling of community experienced by other major global cities that have embraced higher-density living. After all, why shouldn’t Perth, like them, think big?