A 27-level tower part-owned by Homeswest is in the pipeline for 192 Pier Street, with City of Perth commissioners ignoring a staff recommendation and giving it a tick.
The commissioners have recommended the WA Planning Commission approve the application for the mixed use tower, which will have 184 apartments, restaurant, and a shared community space. Thirty per cent of the apartments would be either Homeswest or provided as affordable housing.
Council officers had recommended the application be refused because the tower was bigger than planning rules allow, even accounting for the plot ratio bonuses the city affords to social housing projects.
But commissioner Andrew Hammond said he and colleague Gaye McMath had the right to approve developments that didn’t conform if they added enough value to the social, economic and environmental fabric of the city.
“The city is currently experiencing many challenges with homelessness and rough sleeping,” commissioner Hammond said.
“Whilst social housing is definitely not a quick fix for this difficult and pressing issue, it sits at both ends of the homelessness continuum.
“The lack of social and affordable housing, in the first instant, is clearly identified as one of the causal factors of homelessness. At the other end of the continuum, when the victims of homelessness have received the necessary support and care so as to be ready and able to take up tenancy in social housing, it is critically important that capacity exists.”
The land is owned by the Housing Department but the development will be done by the private sector (Roberts Day were the applicant, Klopper & Davis the architects, and developer Peet Limited are project managing).
“This development clearly demonstrates that with appropriate incentives [giving extra plot ratio], social housing can be delivered by the private sector in an integrated, sensible and dignified manner,” Commr Hammond said.
Back in 2005, a more modest eight-storey Housing Department development was approved on the site. It never went ahead.
The $50 million tower is classed as “public works” because of the social housing component.
Final approval rests with the state’s Development Assessment Panel.
by DAVID BELL