Urban regeneration the key to Perth’s vibrancy

By Nick Allingame UDIA WA President     www.UDIAWA.com.au/

There is no doubt Perth has well and truly ditched the old ‘dullsville’ tag of more than a decade ago.

Several fantastic urban regeneration projects have showcased what can be achieved by reinvigorating and repurposing underutilised or abandoned spaces to bring vitality and life to the city.                                                                                                                                                                                             These projects have helped Perth to transform into a more vibrant, cosmopolitan place that attracts people to live, work and play.

Yagan Square, the winner of the National UDIA Award for Excellence in the Urban Renewal category, is a prime example of an area that was once a physical barrier between the city and Northbridge due to the rail line cutting through the centre, becoming the vibrant heart of our city.

Elizabeth Quay is another example of a regeneration project that is reconnecting the city, this time with the Swan River foreshore, and providing an attractive waterfront precinct that includes opportunities for retail and office and residential development, along with being a major tourist attraction.

Other projects that are underway or in planning include Subiaco Oval and Princess Margaret Hospital sites, Kings Square in Fremantle and Waterbank in East Perth.

Another site that has huge potential is the old East Perth Power Station. It was encouraging to hear the McGowan Government has allocated $30 million in this year’s state budget toward site works to bring the power station site closer to redevelopment. The disused station has been sitting dormant since it closed operations in 1981 and the then East Perth Redevelopment Authority (EPRA) acquired it in 2003.

Since that time, the surrounding area has flourished while not much has happened directly on the site. The government called for expressions of interest from private developers in 2015 with no proponent being finalised.

The site itself is a great opportunity to capitalise on surrounding development, including the new Matagarup Bridge to Optus Stadium, and to provide a focal point for new residential development in the area given the government has also earmarked it as a new Metronet precinct.

There are other sites around Perth that would benefit from similar action, including the South Fremantle Power Station that also continues to sit dormant.                                                                           That power station site is in the final stage of a 20-year Cockburn Coast redevelopment plan. The vision for the site is as a centrepiece of the redevelopment area and it will be great to see its potential realised.

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