Woolstores needs tweak

PROPERTY developer Gerard O’Brien will have to make significant changes to his planned 10-storey redevelopment of the Woolstores shopping centre if he’s to earn height bonuses, says Freo council.

On Wednesday a special meeting of the council’s planning committee was called to check whether Mr O’Brien’s plans are heading in the right direction before he submits an official application.

The committee found the proposed hotel, shopping centre, office space, student accommodation, retirement units and car park was a good mix for Freo’s east end, but there were major concerns about some of the design elements.

In order to qualify for 10 storeys, the design has to be deemed of “exceptional” quality under the council’s controversial Amendment 49 of the city’s planning scheme.

The committee wants Mr O’Brien to tinker with the lower podium level so it’s a better match with the neighbouring Elders woolstore building, and also alter the design and materials of “porthole” windows which are a feature of the eastern and western facades of the hotel.

There were also some concerns about fins which wrap around the hotel to create a wave effect and the committee asked for more details.

Other changes the committee voted on included, widening and straightening a pedestrian link through the development, activating more of the space along the link, and redesigning retirement units in the upper level as they weren’t up to scratch.

by STEVE GRANT

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