Appetite for additional car bays prevalent

Recent research conducted by WA Apartment Advocacy has shown that while 70% of the 174 respondents were happy with their allocated parking bays in their apartment development, an astonishing 50% would be prepared pay an additional $25,000 for another car space.

Of the 30% who were not happy with the number of allocated parking bays, the majority of these were residents with just one car bay.

We have often heard the mantra from developers that they would be happy to provide additional bays if buyers were prepared to pay for it and this data now suggests that the appetite for extra parking is in fact prevalent.

This largely stems from the fact that 50% of the respondents were still reliant on their vehicles for work, shopping and leisure and while the Metronet will alleviate this situation, it is still somewhat in the distant future.

Interestingly 15% of respondents who did live close to public transport were prepared to forfeit their car bay and save the $25,000 on their apartment price.

The data also showed that 30% of the respondents were unhappy with the allocation of visitor parking in their development, with many citing that residents were using these bays as an overflow measure.

For some time now Local and State Governments have been seeking to lower the ratio of car bays to apartments and yet the research does demonstrate that this planning move is somewhat premature.

The research also begs the question as to why developers are not seeking to sell car bays as an ancillary aspect to the apartment itself.

Further improvements that residents were seeking to their parking woes included electric car charging points, dedicated car washing/cleaning bays, larger parking spots and greater security.

This research – if nothing else – clearly shows that developers need to be researching their buyer’s needs before making any assumptions.  This will undeniably assist with their own design process as well as overcoming imposts by planning regulators.

If you are interested in hearing more about WA Apartment Advocacy and its research results register at www.waaa.net.au.

 

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Where does suburbia fit into the Perth equation?

PropertyESP recently attended the PIA State Conference which was aptly termed “Rocking the suburbs.”

Minister Rita Saffioti opened the conference and posed the question – does every suburb wish to be rocked and went on to explain that in the East, the focus in the 1990’s was all about the inner ring and that suburbs were seen nearly as a second class choice.

In contrast – Perth is the exact opposite – even some 27 years on.

Our population growth certainly has been part of the reason for this evolution with some residents happy to travel over an hour into the City for work while living in our burgeoning outer suburbs.  This is true regardless of age.

But what is evident in the Eastern States, is that now, some three decades later, the inner city is reserved solely for the wealthy.

Interestingly 83% of lawyers work in our CBD, 62% engineers, 39% white collar professionals and 26% health workers – however this is not reflected in their choice of housing suburb.

This is partially because house sizes have not declined drastically and yet the range of housing choices in the CBD continues to cater for 1-2 person households.

The Minister therefore believes that we will see a shift whereby suburbia will become more like business districts and the City will evolve into an amenity district.  This certainly aligns with their Metronet model.

At PropertyESP we believe that Perth will follow the same pattern as the East, with the CBD becoming a desired location over the next decade.  But first we need to see greater choice of housing and added amenities such as schools in order to cater to a broader cross section of the community.

But on the tail of that, there are many suburbs that were established in the 1970’s to 90’s that really do lack any sense of pulse and hence in order to retain their residents, their Councils will also need to be progressive in the provision of services and development of community spirit.

There is no doubt that Perth is in a flux of change and as a result of significant investment in the inner CBD and key suburban shopping centres, we will see the rise of preferred suburbs over the next 5-10 years.  But that also means that there will be many suburbs that languish.

The question is, are the LGA’s prepared to rock the boat and their suburbs and evolve with WA’s changing needs?

 

Night time economy part of WA’s future

With all the inner city development occurring, a colleague of PropertyESP recently attended the Australian Night Time Economy (NTE) conference in Melbourne.

This conference dealt with the fact that the night time economy, which for so long has been associated with bars, restaurants and adult entertainment in fact was evolving and in the UK this economy represented $66 billion in trade alone (or 6% of GDP).

Closer to home, Brisbane’s NTE grew by 25.2% from 2009-2014 from $4.97 billion to $6.231 billion.

With changing work habits, multicultural diversity and in fact a 24 hour global clock, we are less and less inclined to think that night time is just for hedonistic activities.

But this means that if we want to transform some of our City into true night time economies we need to think across planning, place making and regulation.

This means that we need to consider pop up markets in car parks.  And temporary installations. And be more liberal with parklets.

This also means that we need to entwine our fashion, food and entertainment outlets and more so be open for custom.

That means that sometimes we have to take a risk and in fact subsidise these concepts to allow for creativity and sense of destination.

With so many areas undergoing rejuvenation in Perth at present – this is the perfect breeding ground for innovative night time solutions.

The question is – are we going to seize this opportunity?

The team at PropertyESP dare you too!  The time is certainly ripe for disruption!

Desire for East Perth to gain 24/7 heartbeat

Samantha Reece recently attended the East Perth session of the Cities Summit that has been co-ordinated by Member for Perth John Carey.

Over 60 people attended this session which comprised of businesses, developers, residents and interested parties.

Quite predictably the session dealt with the areas strengths, its problems and what the community would like to see occur.

East Perth was liked because of its walkability, the gardens and open spaces, Claisebrook Cove and the fact that the area felt calm and relaxed.  In particular the residents enjoyed the fact that while they were living in the City it felt like they were in fact residing in a suburb.

However, there were certainly rumblings about the impact of foot traffic once the Stadium was completed and inexplicably this turned into concerns about safety.

But what was very clear was that East Perth has a Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm heartbeat and hence outside these times East Perth appears somewhat of a ghost town.

Some of the residents however enjoyed this low profile stating that they could travel to Northbridge and Perth for their entertainment.  But this tends to fly in the face of what a TOD (and that is the basis for East Perth) is all about.

There was a sense that East Perth was missing small bars and night activation and that the vacant business premises detracted from the overall vitality.

The community certainly wanted to activate the area around Perth Mint and also turn Wellington Square into a pleasant space to recreate in – rather than avoiding it all costs.

The audience talked about movies in the park, markets at the WACCA car park, setting up pop up shops in the vacant premises and overall a more cultural atmosphere.

This obviously has a cost factor associated with these activation strategies and while John Carey may be seeking the City to hire a place maker for East Perth – it also needs people.  There is no doubt that East Perth has been undercooked for density – like Subiaco – but this is an aspect that can be rectified as we move forward.

With the Stadium due for completion in 2018 this will certainly increase flow through traffic – but will they in fact stay and recreate in East Perth?  And this is very much the issue of the chicken and egg scenario.  Do you create the amenity so that people stay – or do you wait for the crowd and then create the activation?

Either way – there are some real opportunities for East Perth on its horizon and this community can either embrace it – or turn their back on it.  But from the conversation we observed, there is a real desire to turn East Perth into a 24/7 destination and that will take input from all parties and not just a place maker hired by the City of Perth!

Robust discussion needed for infill

Samantha Reece of PropertyESP recently attended the South Perth planning workshops which dealt with the proposed train station precinct and its overall design.

Now in an earlier career path, Samantha was Director of SMR and responsible for a number of community consultation projects including the Gidgegannup town centre. But what was interesting for Samantha in this case, was that the sessions were hosted by a Council and not the developer and hence this allowed for a sharing of a range of views and hence some much needed robust discussion.

Now when the South Perth Town Planning Scheme was passed in 2013 this was done so without discussing height – but rather based on the provision of a train station.  A very dangerous move because it did not deal with the elephant in the room!

As a result, when development started in 2016 and residents were faced with 39 stories – not only did they take proactive action to stop this occurring – but the train station became a dirty word (literally).

To the credit of the Council they have decided (after many inconclusive months) to now take charge by listening to all parties.

As such Samantha was delighted to see that some of the “anti development” factions were really challenged on their assumptions while developers also had a chance to revise the mandatory plot ratio for the commercial vs residential (which at present is making a number of projects in the area nonviable).

While the planning sessions were to a certain extent very much “wish list” orientated – they did allow a forum for developers and supporters of high rise, to challenge and dismiss some of the hype that the anti development factions had created.  And no doubt by allowing for this robust and sometimes very aggressive debate, the “nay sayers” were shown to be just a marginal party in the overall context.

PropertyESP wishes to congratulate the South Perth Council because they could have taken action that would have hindered their community’s growth – and yet they took the bold move to in fact challenge people’s paradigms and hence allow for the stretching of minds and concepts. Plus they did deal with the elephant – and talked height!

At the end of the day – any decision will upset some parties – but it is the deep seated understanding that you look after a whole community (and not just the vocal minority) which the South Perth Council has heeded!  As such they have set an example for others that also need to take this bold and proactive approach.  Change will not happen by chance – but rather through leadership!

Fremantle’s vision continues to grow

Fremantle has been in the news lately with the recent announcement of the $250 million Kings Square project now being a physical reality.

But after Samantha Reece attended the official launch of the “Oval to the Ocean” function, which was hosted by the City last night, we have come to the realisation that Fremantle is setting its sights even further afield.

In the last two years the City has attracted $500 million of investment including the Heirloom apartments ($60 million), Knutsford St apartments ($18 million), Atwell Arcade ($7 million), MSC Building ($8 million) and Quest apartments ($15 million).

But with the Ovation of the Seas docking yesterday for the first time in the Fremantle Harbour, the Council is now keen to refurbish the outdated passenger terminal and create an attractive entrance for visitors into the town centre.

Currently being used as a car park for imported vehicles, the City has recognised that they are wasting prime real estate within South Quay and have set 2029 as its date to celebrate not only the bicentenary of the establishment of the Swan Colony but also the launch of this new precinct.

Predicting private investment of $3.5 billion and 3700 new jobs, the City is both ambitious and proactive for South Quay and in this climate, that is the ideal mix.

In conjunction the City has prioritised the Fremantle Oval and Hospital precinct and a master plan is under way with the intent to host sporting and community events all year round, as well as establish a WAFL Centre for Excellence.

It appears that Mayor Brad Pettitt and his Council are seeking to restore Fremantle to its heyday of the Americas Cup and quite frankly, it is long overdue.

The City has been strategic with approving apartments to house another 4000 residents within its CBD and this will increase its discretionary spend from $11 million to $70 million and this will only bolster the local businesses as well as economic prosperity.

This City not only has a vision – but it is actually fulfilling it – and for that we wish to commend the staff and Councillors.  It takes guts and determination to move a community forward with such momentum and the City of Fremantle is demonstrating that in the right climate anything is possible.

If you are wanting more information than contact the City directly – they have made it quite clear that they are open for business and this proactive approach is very refreshing indeed!

Government benchmark creates discussion

Samantha Reece of PropertyESP attended the recent Property Council breakfast which launched the Greater Perth Councils benchmark report on Statutory Planning Performance.

This review covered 29 Councils in the Perth metropolitan area and rated them on:

  • The age of the Council’s Local Planning Strategy (LPS),
  • Number of amendments to the Local Planning schemes,
  • Delegation of planning approvals, and
  • Timeliness of processing planning applications.

There were certainly some very telling results.

For example, the City of Nedlands had not reviewed their local planning scheme in 31 years and had made 201 amendments in that time.

Peppermint Grove had also not reviewed their scheme in 20 years – but unlike other Councils they had made no amendments to their plan.  It was also the only Council out of the 29 Councils that failed to delegate planning decisions to their staff.

Looking at an overall score, Melville achieved the highest rating (21.7/23), followed by Belmont (20.1).

However what the score card failed to consider was the level of action taken by a Council.

So City of Fremantle, which has recently approved a swathe of apartments for its CBD, scored just two points higher than Peppermint Grove because it did not have a current LPS.

There is no doubt that this report could certainly have taken into account a few more elements to measure real performance, but overall it was a good starting point and with the Property Council advising they will be conducting this review annually, I am sure that we may see a level of frenzied activity from some Councils over the forthcoming 12 months.

This report was intended to highlight where there are deficiencies in the planning system. As a result the Department of Planning did not come off lightly either, acknowledging that they had 18 LPS awaiting review by their own staff.

Overall there is room for improvement and that is the real focus of the Property Council’s report.

Let’s hope that in 12 months’ time we are not looking at the same results – but rather a series of Councils who are now focused on providing an LPS that suits the needs of their current community (and not that of their community circa 1980’s).

A full copy of the report can be viewed at http://www.propertycouncil.com.au/Web/News/Articles/News_listing/Web/Content/News/WA/2016/Majority_of_Local_Governments_Miss_the_Mark_in_Planning_Performance_.aspx