Garden City’s upgrades will include:
• Relocation and expansion of David Jones, joining the existing Myer and Kmart
• Two new full-line supermarkets
• A comprehensive main street casual dining and leisure precinct
• A new Hoyts cinema complex
• A range of international fashion retailers and flagship stores
• A comprehensive range of fresh food
MELVILLE COUNCIL has resurrected plans to move its council chambers into a new cultural centre in the heart of a transformed city centre.
Back in 2015 the Herald reported on the potential move, irking the council which published a “myth buster” to try and discredit the story, despite the information coming directly from its minutes.
The plan seemed to go into hibernation after that, but last month councillors asked the CEO to look into it again. Perhaps concerned the move might be interpreted as empire-building, the council minutes note that existing offices won’t be moved – but don’t mention what the current chambers will be used for later.
Adding to the strangeness of the council’s original myth-buster, this week it seemed reluctant to provide it, despite several requests.
The chambers would join a new library, theatre and facilities for community groups along a “main street” that will demarkate the council’s land from Garden City, which is also about to undergo a major expansion.
Acting council CEO Marten Tieleman says the concept is to make the new library and cultural facility “the community’s civic heart, with all customer and community related events, services and functions occurring in the building for a strong sense of place, which will include the city’s main customer interface”.
“As a major project we have an opportunity to create a place for the community where arts, culture, history and literature can come together,” Mr Tieleman says.
The redevelopment fits into the state government’s plan for Melville to become the region’s “secondary centre” and is a deep concern for Fremantle council.
Freo’s concerned Garden City’s expansion will drain more shoppers from its emptying streets, while owner AMP Capital’s plans for an entertainment district has the potential to disrupt the port city’s evening trade.
Up to now it’s been protected by Garden City’s closing hours.
AMP’s $750m upgrade will make Booragoon the state’s largest fashion and leisure destination.
The centre will go from being 72,000 square metres with 190 stores to about 120,000 square metres with 370 stores.
“The Garden City shopping centre will be turned from an inward looking ‘box’ shopping centre to be an outward facing city centre, focused on a new internal ‘main street’, with shop fronts, mainly for restaurants and entertainment on both sides,” Mr Tieleman said.
It would allow people to move seamlessly through the area.
AMP’s divisional development manager Scott Nugent says it’s been a “long held ambition” to join the shopping centre and council owned building.
“We’ve long been neighbours, but we’ve often been somewhat independent,” he says.
“It will be great to see that integration happening. We can close the street if we want to, to have a festival or fashion event or something of the sorts.”
AMP had planned to have things underway about now, but due to delays has paid the city an indemnity fee capped at $1 million so it can progress designs without risking public funds.
Mr Nugent says AMP is in negotiation with builders and will be getting started either late this year or early 2019. “This is a very expensive development so it takes a lot longer than the standard timeframe.”
He says the majority of the development will be “going up, rather than out” with some expansion to the south and west.
He says there aren’t a lot of restaurants in the area and not many places in Garden City are open after 5pm.
“We are going to offer something that stays open much later – we could be open till midnight in the food precinct and certainly on Thursday through to Sunday you’ll see the entertainment precinct trade a lot later.”
Mr Nugent says customers have asked AMP Capital to “bring the garden back to Garden City”, and it’s become the mantra of the project.
“We’ve based a lot of plans around water and garden and lush, green spaces. We are excited about how the customers will respond to it,” he says.
The development is expected to take about three years and will create 2,500 jobs during construction, and 2,500 retail jobs when the centre opens.
by MOLLY SCHMIDT