State Government plans for a project linking Northbridge to the city include terraced gardens, a landmark building, dedicated cycle paths and a town square on land reclaimed by the sinking of the railway line.

Premier Colin Barnett and Planning Minister John Day unveiled final plans for the $500 million Link project today.

Mr Barnett said the area around the Horseshoe Bridge and above the railway would become an 11,000sqm (1.1 hectare) town square that would add vibrancy and attractiveness to the city.

The area around the town square would include shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation.

"In conjunction with our waterfront development and the transformation of the Perth Cultural Centre, The Link will revitalise and modernise Perth," the Premier said.

"The new town square will be about twice the size of Forrest Place, 25 per cent bigger than Federation Square in Melbourne and will be an important part of the Liberal-National Government's overall Link project.

"The town square will be the closest point between the Northbridge entertainment district and the Perth city centre and will be a key element in connecting Perth and Northbridge for the first time in 100 years.

"For major events, the square will have capacity for between 6000 and 8000 people.

"The town square will be a destination for people to dine outside, for families to gather together and provides a central meeting place right in the heart of the city - for the next 100 years as our city continues to grow.

"This area of The Link project will play a central role in integrating Perth's entertainment, cultural, shopping, employment and public transport areas."

The total project area comprises 13.5ha bounded by Mitchell Freeway, Roe and Wellington streets and the Horseshoe Bridge.

The Link project will ultimately create more than 1650 dwellings for more than 3000 people and 244,000sqm of commercial space for about 13,350 workers.

Mr Day said the town square would complement the proposed underground bus station and Perth railway station and accommodate the dive structures for the Fremantle rail line.

"The plans will see terraced garden areas cover the rail dive structure with grassed embankments and landscaped areas to provide places for people to relax and enjoy," Mr Day said.

"The town square will also include a three-four storey feature building which will add to the commercial and retail options for the area.

"This central building is intended to accommodate a mix of community-related services with a distinctly WA focus.

"In future, it will be home to a tourism and visitor centre or a hub for design and technology. The building will help energise the area at night and include ground floor shops and entertainment options for people moving between Northbridge and the city centre.

"The detailed design for the space will be completed next year, however the town square and central building may incorporate WA landscape elements, as well as significant public art and water and lighting features, to create one of the most significant spaces in Perth."

As well as new commercial and residential opportunities, almost one-third of the entire area will be dedicated to public space such as wide boulevards, alfresco areas, shade and public art.

The first land in the project was released to the market this month and forward works for the undergrounding of the rail line will commence in early 2010.

The project involves sinking the Fremantle rail line from Perth station to Lake Street, undergrounding the Wellington Street Bus Station and creating several important connection points between the city centre and Northbridge.

The West Australian

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