East end on makeover march

Nov 19th, 2014

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Article by:
Kim Macdonald


Kuwait-owned St Martins Properties and one of its tenants will spend more than $20 million on renovations at the group's Perth holdings, joining a massive revitalisation of the city's east end.

Director John Apps said the group had a $12 million capital works program for its three buildings this year, including a $2 million refurbishment of the facade of the McNess Royal Arcade, on the corner of Barrack and Hay streets.

It was now planning to renovate the arcade's upper levels.

Retailer Williams-Sonoma, set to move into St Martins Arcade on Hay Street, would spend about $9 million on its fit-out over the next 12 months.

It is the third Australian store for the popular US retailer, which has a cult following. 

"They are going to do a $9 million fit-out that will change the focus of retail in Perth," Mr Apps said.

"We feel that the focus of the city is gravitating back towards our end because of the new library there, new buildings and the food and cultural centre with the Treasury building development.

"There is a lot ofactivity down Barrack Street, down to the Bell Tower and Elizabeth Quay - these are exciting times." 

The activation includes lavish end-of-trip facilities at the St Martins complex.

"Perth's becoming a sophisticated market and people expect these facilities," he said.

The Property Council of WA said 33,000sqm of office space in the CBD - about 2 per cent - was undergoing or expected to undergo refurbishment.

Deputy executive director Lino Iacomella said refurbishments were expected to increase as vacancy rates rose.

Colliers International is among the property consultancies predicting the vacancy rate to hit about 18 per cent next year.

The CBD office vacancy rate currently sits at about 15 per cent.

"Owners of older buildings are investing in refurbishments in order to compete with new buildings for tenants," Mr lacomella said. ''A lot of the refurbishments include investing in more energy-efficient facilities to also reduce ownership costs over the long term."



Source: The West Australian, Property Section, 19th November 2014

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