Glamorous Italian fashion house Prada will join Gucci and Louis Vuitton in Perth’s most exclusive shopping strip for the city’s ongoing unprecedented retail bonanza.
Wealth from WA mines has prompted another boom in the city centre where six major new retail developments are under construction or in the pipeline.
There is also a surge of interest from luxury international brands eager to set up shop in a city previously seen as an isolated backwater unworthy of attention.
Prada, renowned worldwide for status symbol handbags and chic shoes, is hotly rumoured to be headed to the designer mecca of King Street.
While its Australian arm declined to comment yesterday, it is understood the luxury label will move into a prime corner tenancy with frontages on King and Hay streets, directly across from rival Gucci.
Some of fashion’s biggest names — including Chanel, British “it” brand Burberry and Polo Ralph Lauren — are pondering premises on the Parisian-styled street to capitalise on Perth’s swelling class of new millionaires.
World famous New York jeweller Tiffany & Co will open its King Street store next month and Swiss house Bally had a run on several popular products, including a $1795 handbag, when it opened this year.
For those who need a Powerball to justify spending thousands on a bag, there will soon be dozens of new CBD boutiques with less pricey clothes and accessories, along with many new cafes, bars and restaurants, as fresh retail developments change the face of Perth.
The first stores in Century City are due to open in time for Christmas trading. Opposite Piccadilly Arcade with frontages on Hay Street Mall and St Georges Terrace, it will include a supermarket and a cafe court.
BHP’s Billiton’s new 46-storey home City Square will feature shops, bars and restaurants based around its heritage facades that front St Georges Terrace.
There is also an outbreak of activity around the city’s traditional heart — the malls. Under the BankWest tower being built at Raine Square will be a supermarket, a 500-seat food court and three shopping levels.
There will also be new shops at the historic GPO, which will reopen around September after renovations, at the One40william development above the train station and at the Wesley Centre. They are due for completion between 2009 to 2012.
Lease Equity managing director Jim Tsagalis, whose company is a big player in inner-city retail leasing, said the affluence from the mining boom had set the stage for a flurry of construction that would transform the city.
“The last major retail development was probably Forrest Chase more than 20 years ago and there hasn’t really been a large amount since,” he said.
The retail boom was underpinned by new office towers, which would bring in more than 25,000 CBD workers within two years, as well as new infrastructure such as the railway stations, the planned foreshore redevelopment and Northbridge Link.
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said there was a sense of the city maturing.