December 14, 2018
A large-scale urban renewal project supported by the state government is connecting Perth’s CBD to the artistic enclave of Northbridge for the first time in more than a century.
Perth City Link, a 13.5-hectare lifestyle and entertainment precinct, is already drawing young professionals and tourists to this formerly industrial pocket of the city.
In 2012, the regeneration of the precinct began in earnest with the completion of RAC Arena. Transport upgrades have included the new Fremantle line rail tunnel and the underground Perth Busport. When Yagan Square, Perth’s answer to Melbourne’s Federation Square, opened early this year, it was described by WA premier Mark McGowan as the “new heart of Perth”.
“The regeneration of the inner city is really starting here,” says Angus Murray, director of PRDnationwide Perth, the master agent for the precinct’s first residential development, Perth Hub.
“The train lines that ran through the middle of the city disconnected the nightlife in Northbridge from the CBD. Now that barrier is removed.”
Murray says Perth’s developers have learned from the successes and missteps of urban renewal projects in larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.
“Developers previously concentrated on individual buildings, whereas we’re now trying to build entire precincts offering lifestyle and entertainment options,” Murray says. “People don’t just want roofs over their heads, they want to enjoy that inner-city lifestyle.”
About 13,500 people will work in the precinct when it’s completed, and roughly 3,000 people will occupy Perth Hub, with its first stage a $150 million two-tower development by Far East Consortium.
Designed by Cottee Parker Architects, Perth Hub includes a 30-storey mixed-use tower with 314 apartments, as well as a 23-storey tower for the four-star Dorsett Hotel. The two towers will have restaurants, cafes and bars at ground level.
Murray says Perth Hub is most likely to appeal to young professionals seeking inner-city excitement. The development is next door to RAC Arena and walking distance to attractions such as Kings Park, Northbridge and Elizabeth Quay.
“Students, young professionals and people who work in the city, for them everything is about walkability and connectivity with public transport,” Murray says.
Construction on Perth Hub will begin in 2019, but the Dorsett Hotel and RAC Arena are already expected to bring more than one million visitors to the area each year. By the time Perth Hub’s residents arrive, Perth City Link will be a thriving and active part of the city. Other planned additions to the precinct include an underground shopping mall and European-style plaza surrounding the Milligan Steps.
“We will put awnings and restaurants and bars spilling onto the steps, so it’s going to be quite a tourist-concentrated area and a bit of a must-come destination for younger visitors,” Murray says.
“This is unashamedly an entertainment precinct,” he adds. “We’re trying to create something really exciting in the middle of the city.”