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Landmarks to be retained in William Street heritage precinct


Heritage buildings in Wellington Street will form a key part of a new commercial and retail precinct above the William Street railway station, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said today.

The heritage buildings for the precinct will be woven into the development - providing a dynamic creative mix of old and new.

"This city station will bring 27,000 people per day into the precinct, ensuring it will be a vibrant commercial and transport hub with heritage links," Ms MacTiernan said.

Three significant heritage buildings - the Wellington Building, the original Globe Hotel and the Baird's Building in Wellington Street - will be retained and incorporated into a major redevelopment of the site. The fa├žade of the Mitchell Building in William Street will also be retained and integrated into the redevelopment above the new railway station.

The project will include new underground railway platforms at William Street and is likely to attract redevelopment totalling more than $80million.

Ms MacTiernan confirmed the retention of the Wellington Building - the most significant building in the precinct - in its entirety.

"This imposing building is one of only a few examples of a corner commercial building that has survived from Perth's early architectural history," she said.

"The entire structure will be retained, despite the obvious challenges involved in supporting the building above the new underground platforms.

"It has also proved possible, as we had strongly hoped, to retain the original
Globe Hotel and 80 per cent of the original Baird's Building in Wellington Street. The retention of three structural elements along Wellington Street ensures the original streetscape is largely preserved."

The Minister said the redevelopment created an opportunity to provide direct street level links across the precinct, from Forrest Place to William and between Murray and Wellington Streets. The owners of the GPO and Commonwealth Bank Buildings in Forrest Place are looking at how best to connect in with the new development.

"The redevelopment is part of a crucial piece of public transport infrastructure that will create more than 6,000 jobs and inject almost $1billion into the State economy,"
Ms MacTiernan said.

"The project opens the way to revitalise a run-down section of the city, while retaining its heritage values in a balanced redevelopment.

"With about 27,000 passengers using the new station daily, the State Government is preparing the foundations for a development that optimises pedestrian, commercial and residential opportunities at a transport hub."

The Minister said the Government had obtained advice from Sydney heritage experts Tonkin Zulaikha Greer on how the historical context of the area could best be woven into the redevelopment.

She said draft planning guidelines for the station site were released for public comment last year and had recently been finalised by the Western Australian Planning Commission and City of Perth.

A key and important next step was the development of a conservation plan. The broad outline of this plan would be completed before major changes were made to any of the retained buildings in the precinct. This conservation plan would be the basis of a detailed Heritage Agreement between the Heritage Council and Planning Commission, setting out how the heritage buildings would be retained and how these would integrate with the new buildings in the development.

Ms MacTiernan said this was an excellent example of whole-of-government action with the Public Transport Authority, the Heritage Council of Western Australia, the City of Perth, LandCorp, the Western Australian Planning Commission and other key stakeholders actively collaborating since June 2002 to produce the best outcome for the city.

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