The West

Second tower signals faith in WA ecomony
Going up: Brookfield Place Tower Two. Illustration: Artists impression/Supplied

One of Australia's biggest developers has given a ringing endorsement of the WA economy, committing to build a 16-storey office block for 3500 workers in the city.

Last night, Brookfield Office Properties gave the go-ahead for the final piece in its vision for Brookfield Place on St Georges Terrace, announcing immediate plans to build a second tower with 34,000sqm of office space.

It is one of the biggest offices planned for Perth since Brookfield's Tower One, the 45-storey glass monolith that is home to BHP Billiton.

Brookfield Office Properties president Kurt Wilkinson said it already had tenancy commitments for 40 per cent of Tower Two from law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth and financial services firm Deloittes, as well as Brookfield Multiplex.

Despite rising office vacancy rates in Perth, Mr Wilkinson said he had no concerns about renting the entire tower by the time it was due for completion in late 2015.

He said Perth's office vacancy rate, which has more than doubled since the height of the boom to more than 5 per cent, was still low compared with some States.

He said Tower One was fully leased and there were few new office blocks in development.

"We've made a significant investment in the commercial property market in Perth and we are very positive about the long-term outlook for the market," he said.

The announcement comes after the start of works yesterday on three commercial buildings at nearby King's Square, which is part of the $5.2 billion City Link development near Perth train station.

Developers Leighton Properties and other stakeholders yesterday turned the first sod on three buildings - of nine, 11 and 19 storeys - which will each provide up to 23,000sqm of office space.

Tenants in the three buildings, worth $435 million, include Shell Australia and John Holland.

The new projects have come as a relief to city construction workers, who have been worried about the lack of cranes on the city skyline in recent months.

"Altogether, it's been a tight half a year so far, but let's hope things get better," Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union State secretary Mick Buchan said.

"I'm pretty confident we are going to see a lot more activity over the next 18 months."

Commercial property consultant Damian Stone said Brookfield's announcement was a strong endorsement of the industry's confidence in the WA economy, despite the mining downturn.

Mr Stone, director of Y Research, noted that the pool of potential tenants for the proposed office towers at Elizabeth Quay was shrinking as major companies signed leases at Brookfield Place and King's Square.

The West Australian

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