$450m Scarborough Towers 'Slimmed Down' in Light of 2017 Rejection


Chinese developer 3 Oceans Property has returned from the drawing board with a new design and development concept for their controversial "Iconic Scarborough" proposal, after receiving an initial thumbs down from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

The plans would see the developer repurpose the Contacio nightclub site in the Perth beachside suburb of Scarborough, where they originally planned to build a two-tower development of 43- and 35-storeys, with 345 apartments and 159 hotel rooms.

In late 2017 the MRA rejected 3 Oceans’ plans on the grounds that it constituted "significant overdevelopment of the site".

“In response to the MRA’s original comments around overdevelopment of the site, it has always been clear that height was not considered the central issue but more so the scale and configuration of the podium and the base of the towers,” the developers said in a statement.

“These elements are substantially reduced in size and impact and the public uses through the base of the building have been reorganised.

"Also, the appearance of more slender towers providing better view corridors sitting atop-of rather than blending-in with this significantly scaled back podium is proposed.”

Related reading: Perth Holiday Inn Changes Hands for $65m

3 Oceans revised design on the left, with the original proposal on the right
scarby 2

3 Oceans managing director, Dyno Zhang told Australia China Business Review the mediation with MRA that followed the 2017 rejection would also include a peer review by three highly-regarded architecture groups, including former New South Wales state architect Peter Mould.

The slimmer tower forms result in the total number of apartments being trimmed down from 345 to 324. Hotel accommodation has also been reduced from 159 rooms to 148 rooms.

The revised proposal reduces site coverage to 72 per cent, down from 80 per cent together with overall car parking reduced from 834 to 750 bays.

Also being cut from the proposal is a pedestrian bridge, which provides access to the beach over the busy West Coast Highway.

The $450 million development will also feature a 2,509 square metre coastal convention centre, a three level public observation deck, restaurant and exhibition space, and 3,502 square metres of retail and dining space.

“3 Oceans, in line with their investments in Western Australia, always intended that the development will have a significant impact on WA’s tourism industry," the developer said.

"Through the mediation process we have now included an even greater focus on tourism benefits with dedicated space allocated to a WA Coastal Experience Centre and a WA Market Hall showcasing the best of WA produce.”

Related reading: Perth’s $120 million Ocean Reef Harbour Redevelopment

The MRA knocked back plans for the old Contacio bar site in Scarborough featured above, saying it would create “serious impacts” on traffic and represent a “significant over-development” of the site.

Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan made headlines this week publically backing the Scarborough project for the second time however acknowledged it has to go through the MRA’s approval process first.

Earlier this month, MRA-LandCorp chairman George McCullagh called for an end to the culture of secrecy surrounding the MRA.

McCullagh told The West Australian the merged entity wanted to “open the doors” to improve transparency for developers it worked with.

“We have to do some work on the culture of planning inside the approval processes of these joint organisations,” he said.

“What we want to do is to bring a much clearer, crisper triage to the front end of the planning cycle so that we can talk to the proponents, developers and investors around the planning framework and ... start de-risking projects much earlier.”

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