The private investor the Government chooses to develop the corner of Plain and Hay street will be forced to incorporate the derelict old chemistry centre, which is heritage listed.
The Metropolitan Redevelopment authority has sought expressions of interest to develop apartments, shops and other retail amenities at the site which forms part of the wider Riverside project revitalising East Perth.
Announcing the next stage of the project this morning, Planning Minister John Day said it was envisaged the redevelopment of the 5335sqm site would create a “high street” comprising supermarket, café and retail on the ground level, with apartments to 16 storeys above.
Developers Frasers Property Australia have already invested $450 million in the 26-storey residential tower called QIII adjacent to the Hay Street lot and further east Lend Lease will start construction of the Waterbank component of Riverside.
That will include extending Hay Street to the Swan river, a public beach, jetty and up to 1000 new apartments.
Mr Day admitted the retention of the old material sciences building in one corner of the site would surprise many people, given its appearance as a drab, brick building which had been disused since the State Chemistry Centre, now ChemCentre, moved to Bentley eight years ago.
“I think quite a few people would be surprised that part of the building is heritage listed but it does have its own place and role in the architectural history of Perth in representing a roughly 1960s building and there are particular architectural features of it,” Mr Day said.
“We do have heritage laws in WA and I think fortunately in this case it can be well adapted for new use for hopefully a supermarket.”
The heritage value of the building was not immediately obvious to passers by canvassed by thewest.com.au.
“Knock it down,” Anthony, 39, of Mt Lawley said.
“Why? Look at it.”
Sarah Cartwright, 26, of Caversham, said she loved history, architecture and Perth “but that’s not the sort of thing I want saved.”
“There are plenty of better buildings being torn down in Guildford,” she said.
Sarah Thomas, of Wembley, said the building did not look old enough to be heritage listed.
“In a lot of heritage cases it makes sense to save the front of the building but it seems a bit far fetched to keep the building in its original form,” she said.