A high-end fashion label's bid to open its first store in Perth has been held back by a heritage dispute over a timber staircase.
Miu Miu, a subsidiary of the Prada fashion house, plans to open its third Australian store at the site of the former King Street Cafe.
The property is owned by Glenbrook Nominees, which has applied to the City of Perth for approval for refurbishment and adaptation works at the heritage-listed building, including the demolition of a timber staircase.
But City of Perth planners, who approved most of the proposed works, say the staircase must stay.
Glenbrook is a privately owned company that Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show is run by Dalkeith residents Ronald and Grace Lee.
Landgate records indicate Glenbrook bought the property for $1 million in 1993.
The company has asked the council to reconsider its position given that plans for the site include a new staircase and lift, making the timber structure unnecessary. It said it was a condition of the lease with Miu Miu that the staircase be demolished because it "will not suit the contemporary refurbishment theme" of the brand.
According to council planners, the stairs are a part of the original fabric of the Federation-style building and their removal would be contrary to the heritage policy.
The two-storey commercial building at 44 Kings Street was built in 1904.
"It is important to recognise that over time, the use of these spaces change and the tenants which occupy them change," the planners' report read.
"The functional requirements and the proposed contemporary refurbishment theme of the new tenant is therefore not considered sufficient grounds for the irreversible removal of significant heritage fabric."
Perth Fashion Festival director Mariella Harvey- Hanrahan said a label like Miu Miu potentially coming to Perth was a sign that the city was coming of age.
"Miu Miu is uber-cool, and so right now. Perth is no longer the sleepy little town it used to be and this sort of interest in our market signifies this," she said.
Miu Miu is the brainchild of Miuccia Prada, the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada.
It opened its first Australian store in Melbourne in 2010, followed by a Sydney store in 2011. The City of Perth will decide on the development on Tuesday.