Property developer Finbar has received the green light for its controversial $365 million Civic Heart development in South Perth despite concerns it looks too similar to Gold Coast skyscraper Q1.
The ASX-listed company halted trading while the WA planning minister deliberated over the future of the 8,208sq m site.
The decision is more than five years in the making since Finbar's initial plans for 294 apartments received approval from Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel.
Finbar submitted a new application for the site in December 2018 for two residential towers reaching up to 39 and 22-storeys high and designed by SS Chang Architects.
It included 309 residential dwellings, a community precinct at ground level and adaptive reuse of the heritage police station and post office buildings.
Despite years of planning Metro Central JDAP refused the plans as “it replicates the design of other buildings, such as Q1 Tower” and needed to be “memorable” according to the submissions.
Planning minister Rita Saffioti used legislative powers to call-in the development application for her determination due to the significance of the site.
She imposed additional conditions in relation to the podium and green wall construction and sought clarification for waterproofing, subsoil seepage and 100-year-flood preparations.
“I have considered this application on its merits, taking into account the strategic significance of this site, relevant planning frameworks, the submissions put forward to me and the broad range of views,” she said.
In making her decision, the minister considered submissions from the developer, the City of South Perth, the Metro Central JDAP and public submissions.
The heritage-listed former South Perth Police Station and adjacent Post Office will be retained and upgraded as part of the approved plans.
Finbar managing director Darren Pateman said the development links the foreshore to the Perth Zoo and incorporates one of Australia's largest green walls at over 700 square metres.
“We have recently sold out of our South Perth Stock [at nearby Reva and Aurelia developments] and are very keen to bring this flagship project to a market showing positive signs of price recovery,” Pateman said.
“This development will end years of uncertainty and finally deliver on the vision for the South Perth area.”