BGC’s $500 million, 28-level Westin Hotel development at 480 Hay Street is to spearhead a revival of the drab, shabby eastern side of Perth’s central business district.
The 360-room Westin’s drawcard landscaped food, drink and entertainment area, scheduled to open just weeks before the hotel next April, has been designed to merge seamlessly with the foyer of the five-star hotel, on the site of the old Perth Fire Station.
The development, in one of the least-loved areas of the CBD, has similar potential to Adrian Fini’s State Buildings revitalisation triumph, including the award-winning Treasury COMO hotel, Perth City Library and David Malcolm Justice Centre.
The Westin, bounded by Hay, Murray and Irwin streets, is a block from the Royal Perth Hospital and close to Victoria Square and is set to extend the clean, inviting space created by the nearby State Buildings, creating a welcoming, 24-hour entertainment precinct.
Perth Stadium is clearly visible from the upper floors.
BGC, which engaged place-making experts at RobertsDay, had worked through in detail plans for Hibernian Place, with street-level drawcard food, drink, restaurant, craft and convenience outlets to lure the 45,000 pedestrians expected to pass through the area each day.
Lease Equity’s Jim Tsagalis said, as well as a rooftop restaurant and bar on the Irwin Street side, there were a range of potential ground floor food and drink options, alfresco areas, potential for a cocktail bar, dine-in and takeaway options, and a downstairs late night jazz or blues venue.
The venues, from 100sqm to 600sqm, would be carefully curated to create a welcoming environment for hotel guests as well as locals, including doctors and nurses working all hours at Royal Perth Hospital.
An events program would likely prove a further attraction.
Demonstrating its long-term commitment to the building and the precinct, BGC will upgrade the heritage Hibernian Hall on Murray Street into a lounge bar-like venue, merging the historic building into the top-shelf component of the development.
A 22-level Hay Street office tower, part of the original hotel development, was on hold until a suitable tenant could be found.
However, Mr Tsagalis said, in the interim the office tower site would be landscaped, extending the public open space in the piazza near the hotel entry.
BGC acquired the land for $8 million under the then-State government’s hotel incentive scheme (it was valued at the time at $19 million to $26 million). BGC was proud of the high-quality development and its state-of-the art amenities which it was pitching as a “precinct for the people”.
“It’s going to create an active public space and central hub for the city’s east end,” Mr Tsagalis said.
“It’s a really exciting time for the city’s east end. We are at the very beginning of the gentrification of this area. Treasury has already hit benchmarks. With Northbridge, Perth City Link and Elizabeth Quay, it will all have a multiplier effect.”
Mr Tsagalis worked closely with Brookfield on 140William’s food and drink offering and on the vision for the stand-out Brookfield Place precinct.