South Perth developer shaves off six storeys

The West Australian

13th November 2019.

South Perth developer Sirona Capital has scaled back its proposal for a high-rise development near Perth Zoo by taking six levels off its original 44-storey design.

The development was rejected in December by the Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel which cited the lack of a planning framework for the area to help determine how tall buildings on the South Perth peninsula could be.

A decision by the City of South Perth - prior to the development’s rejection - to defer endorsing its draft activity centre plan, which would outline height limits, contributed to the planning gap at the time.

The draft activity centre plan has since been endorsed but not finalised by the council.

The plan sets a height limit of 123.3m above ground level as the council does not want any developments taller than the proposed Civic Heart project by Finbar which would be about 140m. Sirona took the council to the State Administrative Tribunal in December and through mediation come up with revised plans which will go back to the JDAP on Monday for approval.

The revised plans sees the total height of the $65 million Sirona project drop from 145m to 123m and from 44 storeys to 38.

There would be 99 apartments instead of 120 and 194 car bays down from 215. Fifty-one of the apartments would have two-bedroom layouts.

Sirona has also proposed the addition of a community co-working office space and public gallery in the plans.

The City of South Perth, which was against the 44- storey plans, has recommended the revised proposal be given the go-ahead. Sirona managing director Matthew McNeilly said the proposal had been revised so it would be consistent with other South Perth developments and the City’s aspirations for the area.

WA Government Architect Geoff Warn said the project was exemplary, distinctive and memorable.

“The tower design is clearly and consistently expressed in-the-round, with the deep, gridded facade wrapping around corners and, via prominent recesses at regular intervals, creating an expression of stacked cubes rather than a singular tower, helping to diminish the perceived height,” he said.

“The impact of the height and scale of the proposal is mitigated via the use of the gridded frame to the tower and the podium-height wing to the west along Lyall Street. The tower form is comparatively narrow and therefore creates an elegant appearance.

“The design corresponds to the vision that the City of South Perth has outlined in their draft activity centre plan, which supports taller buildings and significantly increased residential and commercial densities that will help define a new inner- urban precinct.”

South Perth Peninsula Action Group’s Vicki Red- den said the development should not be approved until the new activity centre plan was ratified.

She said feedback - including concerns about the zoo being overshadowed - during July workshops with community groups on the activity plan had not been incorporated by the council into the document.

“We also want to see new developments in South Perth and this may be a well-designed building, but it does not respect its surroundings,” Ms Redden said. “Nobody wants to see Perth’s beloved zoo compromised in any way by over-shadowing, visual intrusion and the inevitable traffic and parking congestion around one of our most valuable tourist attractions.”

Mr McNeilly said the overshadowing issue had been addressed through a detailed shadow analysis.

The city’s report to the JDAP notes it is satisfied with the overshadowing performance of the building and that there would not be a major impact on the Perth Zoo’s solar panels from the tower’s shadow.

Former South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty finished up at the council last month and told The West Australian she thought the activity plan needed to be adopted prior to development approval.