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11 Dec
Suburbs and students leading a construction revival

With Gordon Bateup, Director

Is it just me or are there signs the slide in commercial construction projects may have bottomed? Look around and do a crane count. I’m not saying they are sprouting like mushrooms. The CBD may be fairly static as far as new work is concerned, but there’s solid evidence the sector is adapting, and decentralisation might be said to be leading the way as far as construction activity is concerned.

Students Construction

Mixed use developments have been receiving quite a boost and sites around transport hubs like Cockburn Central and Alkimos are being highly sought-after by developers. A recent property report claimed there was more than 55,000 square metres of office space under construction in Perth’s suburbs with Primewest’s eight-storey “Prime House” in Joondalup set to house 800 government employees when it is completed early next year. There’s also an additional 5,500 square metres of retail space slated for Fremantle’s Kings Square.

Student accommodation has also come into focus as a significant barrier to Perth remaining competitive in attracting overseas enrolments. Its share of these students has declined from 10% to 7% in a decade. The gap is huge with 59,000 overseas students enrolled and only 5,000 beds on Perth campuses. Stirling Capital is one of the first to get a project approval and work has begun on a $80 million, 24-storey building at 89-95 Stirling Street, Perth, that will house 571 beds, pool, gym, library and a rooftop area with bar and cinema.  Perhaps there is scope to repurpose under-utilised office buildings? That’s something for owners to seriously consider.

Student Accomm

As far as existing CBD projects are concerned, there is certainly big-ticket construction underway that’s worth continuing to celebrate like the Woodside head office and the $250 million Westin Hotel at 480 Hay Street. Across the Causeway, footy will never be the same again with the imminent completion of the Perth Stadium and that’s only minutes away from the Perth Airport where $1 billion is being invested for redevelopment phases 1 and 2. And the proposed $800 million redevelopment of the Galleria Shopping Centre is still on the starter’s blocks, subject to usual approvals. As sure as day follows night, any downturn must eventually begin its inevitable ascendancy. Perhaps we are now witnessing the beginnings of a renaissance for the construction sector?

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