What will it take to populate Perth’s CBD?Posted by On


With a little imagination, it could be one of those cool apartments in a Manhattan-set movie — a stylishly renovated space in a classic building located in the beating heart of the metropolis with views over the city and a short stroll from restaurants, bars and retail outlets.

Unfortunately, as I climb the stairs of the Metropole Hotel in the Hay Street Mall ​to see for myself one of the many abandoned spaces in heritage-listed buildings across the Perth CBD, I realise that imagination has been sorely lacking in both our private and public sectors.

JLL general manager Angelo Amara and economist Ronak Bhimjiani in the heritage building-lined Hay Street Mall.

JLL general manager Angelo Amara and economist Ronak Bhimjiani in the heritage building-lined Hay Street Mall.Credit: Mark Naglazas

All agree the city needs to grow its population to help alleviate the woes of the retail sector and do its bit for the housing crisis.

Yet whenever the idea of activating the unused upper floors of charming old buildings comes up it is dismissed as a bridge too far — too expensive, too many restrictive laws, too few incentives for owners.

So when the Perth office of the commercial property giant JLL put out a press release arguing that the sadly neglected upper floors of our heritage-listed buildings in the CBD were ripe for being repurposed into apartments I had to find out if they were being serious.

“It can happen and should because we are talking about the core of the city,” says JLL’s local managing director Angelo Amara.

“And it is…

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