Perth City Link Woes Blamed on Barnett’s Overambition

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
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The opposition has blamed the Barnett government’s pursuit of too many inner-city projects simultaneously for the problems plaguing Perth’s ambitious urban development plans.

Mirvac has opted to withdraw from the $5.3 billion Perth CityLink project, severely hindering the state government’s ambitious urban development plans for the West Australian capital.

The developer was originally set to play a central role in the transformation and upgrade of the huge 13.5 hectare space between Horseshoe Bridge and Perth Arena, a project hailed as the city’s greatest urban development opportunity at the time of its launch.

Prior to its withdrawal Mirvac had planned to build a slew of apartments, office buildings as well as retail and food outlets in the area, spurring its conversion into a thriving inner-city precinct with 3,000 residents as well as 13,500 new workers.

The breakdown of the deal comes as a major blow for the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, particularly following the withdrawal of two other key parties to the project in 2015.

Leighton Holdings, who originally joined the project as a joint partner with Mirvac in 2013, discretely made its exit from Perth City Link last year.

In December Thailand’s Minor Hotel Group withdrew from the proposed creation of a hotel and serviced apartment complex near the Perth Arena, blaming disagreements over expected outcomes for the project.

MRA has imputed the collapse of the deal to potential financial difficulties created by a slowdown in the Western Australian economy in tandem with the state’s struggling property market.

The opposition has pointed to Mirvac’s withdrawal from the project as further evidence of the Barnett government’s botched handling of urban development in Perth.

“We know Elizabeth Quay is costing us millions of dollars and now this will be too,” said Rita Saffioti, Labor planning spokesperson.

“We have sterilised land in the middle of the city that is not being used for commercial development and taxpayers have to pay for that.”

According to Saffioti the Barnett government’s simultaneous pursuit of multiple ambitious inner-city initiative is the real reason for Perth’s scuppered urban development.

“We said undertaking all these projects, like Elizabeth Quay and Perth City Link, at the same time was going to create commercial issues in the future and now it’s happened …-they can’t sell the blocks of land,” said Saffioti.

“Bringing all this commercial space to the market at the same time was going to create an issue…that’s eventuated.”

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