New CBD Precinct to Fight Suburban Malls

Jun 24th, 2008

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Inner Perth landowners may soon face a rates hike to fund a new precinct to fight off competition from suburban shopping malls.

The ambitious "business improvement district" is the brainchild of a consortium comprising commercial landlords Hawaiian Property Group, ISPT, Wilson management, Sportslane and Lease Equity.

"The competition from the regional shopping centres is massive," explained Hawaiian's Evan Briers. "The city needs to be able to present itself as one co-ordinated shopping centre.

"You have a lot more clout when everyone's pulling together."

Under the consortium's plan, all retailers in the rectangle bounded by William Street, Wellington Street, Barrack Street and St Georges Terrace would participate in joint marketing, security and streetscape improvement initiatives.

"That area would be bigger than most shopping malls," Mr Briers said. "However, it's presented to customers (like) Carillon City or Forrest Chase.

"What we are suggesting is all the retailers need to get involved to stand up for the CBD."

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the idea would be funded by a rates levy imposed on all landholders in the precinct.

"Once fully implemented, if you're in the precinct you will have to pay the fee, but the return on the investment will be assured," Ms Scaffidi said.

"It's highly necessary given the probable imminent deregulation of the shopping environment in the suburban malls of greater Perth."

City of Perth councillors will tonight be asked to endorse a $180,000 council contribution toward the precinct's development.

Funding would be contingent on the landlords' consortium finalising a map of the precinct, and consulting with other landowners and traders on the proposal.

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