Elizabeth Quay: Perth's new public spaces to be revealedAn artist's impression of Elizabeth Quay. Image: Government of Western Australia

Elizabeth Quay: Perth's new public spaces to be revealed

As the public spaces of Elizabeth Quay are unveiled amid fanfare tomorrow, the rest of the $2.6 billion waterfront development is yet to be built.

The official opening of the Perth entertainment and tourism precinct kicks off on Friday from 4pm, with a range of family-friendly activities, including nightly laser, light and water shows.

The project to revitalise the city foreshore, by reconnecting the CBD to the river, has been taking shape since the first sod was turned at the Esplanade Reserve in April 2012.

The vision for the mixed-use development includes public spaces ringed by residential apartments, hotel accommodation, offices and retail outlets. The State Government has invested $440 million, with $2.2 billion expected to be injected by the private sector.

A photo posted by @theecksfiles on

Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority chief executive Kieran Kinsella said the public infrastructure had been delivered on budget, and about four million people were expected to visit Elizabeth Quay each year.

Spanning the entrance of the inlet, the 110m-long, double-arch suspension bridge for pedestrians and cyclists is completed, the granite paving has been laid for the promenades, and water has filled the 2.7-hectare inlet at the heart of the development.

“When the Elizabeth Quay public realm opens, visitors will be able to enjoy the inlet with short-stay boat moorings, promenades and the landing at the top of the inlet, a new island destination in the centre of the inlet, featuring a sculpture of Bessie Rischbieth and a children’s nature-based playground,” Mr Kinsella said.

“The BHP Billiton Water Park and a number of public art pieces including Spanda, First Contact and the Signature Ring will also be available.

“Land sales have been very successful to date with preferred developers now chosen for eight of the nine development lots.”

But only one project seems likely to begin construction this year. That development, by Far East Consortium, will see The Towers rise on the plots nearest the Bell Tower. Construction of the 379-apartment project, which includes the 204-suite Ritz-Carlton Hotel and offers luxury waterfront living set across two towers, is expected to get underway early this year and be completed in 2018.

With an offer of $85 million, CA & Associates was announced this week as the preferred developer for lots two and three – a combined area of 6200sqm alongside the western promenade. It is a collaboration between AAIG Pty Ltd, which is developing the former Emu Brewery site, and Fini Group, involved in the recent redevelopment of the State Buildings.

“CA & Associates Pty Ltd was selected as the preferred proponent for its alignment with the overall vision for Elizabeth Quay and the company’s experience in delivering developments of a similar scale,” Mr Kinsella said.

“The company has proposed more than 450 residential and serviced apartments and a 125-bed hotel which will be supported by quality retail and food and beverage at the ground plaza level.”

An international design competition inviting selected architectural firms to submit concepts for the proposed development is being planned.

The first private landholder, Chevron Australia, snapped up the north-east corner for its headquarters in 2013 for $64 million. It has since sought a two-year delay in construction to focus on its Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects.

“The MRA will continue to work with Chevron to explore activation opportunities on the vacant lots in the interim,” Mr Kinsella said.

Meanwhile Brookfield Properties is still in exclusive negotiations over a two-tower commercial/office development on lots five and six at the top of the inlet.

Lot four, behind the BHP Billiton Water Park, has been earmarked as a temporary public outdoor venue. It will act as the Chevron Festival Gardens as part of the Perth International Arts Festival over the next four years.

What you can see at the opening

  • The BHP Billiton Water Park, opposite the Elizabeth Quay train station (formerly The Esplanade station), includes an interactive water display with lighting, sound and choreographed water jets. The resources giant contributed $10 million towards its installation.
  • The 1928-built Florence Hummerston House has been relocated from the Esplanade and rebuilt as a feature of the man-made island next to the maritime and nature-inspired playground. The Duyfken replica will be moored off this island next summer.
  • The entry statement on The Landing is the $1.3 million Spanda sculpture by artist Christian de Vietri which soars to the height of an eight-storey building. The 29m structure is a series of carbon fibre rings that represents water ripples and links to the river, land and sky.
  • Transperth will start its services from the new ferry terminal on the western promenade from Sunday. There will also be short-stay berths for visitors’ vessels.
  • Until February 21, the Fringe World Fairground will present a range of performances, an outdoor roller skating rink, carnival rides and amusements, recreating the fairground found at the riverside end of William Street in the 1920s.

There will also be pop-up food stations, including Embargo bar which will operate out of a shipping container until March. Permanent eateries set to open their doors by April include:

  • The Reveley – operated by the team behind The Stables Bar – will have a rooftop bar and a first-floor restaurant on the eastern promenade.
  • The Isle of Voyage cafe, associated with Voyage Kitchen at Sorrento, will be housed in the Florence Hummerston House.
  • Another outlet of the V Burger Bar, now in Floreat and East Victoria Park, will open up near the water park.
  • In a building inspired by an Argyle pink diamond, Gusto Gelato will serve up cool treats.

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