For sale: The intriguing old Perth building that money alone can't buyThis historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: Supplied

For sale: The intriguing old Perth building that money alone can't buy

Every passer-by of historic 151-165 Beaufort Street knows the building by the distinctive tessellation artwork that adorns its empty shopfront windows.

But what most don’t know is the changes this building has witnessed, from thriving gold boom town in 1903 to the multicultural mixing pot of the 1950s.

Now the building could write another chapter in its history after being put on the market by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

This distinctive historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: Supplied The artwork on the windows is familiar but this dilapidated building has for years had passers-by wondering what’s inside. Photo: Supplied

Colliers International is handling the sale of the 914-square-metre corner site and its heritage-listed character building.

Its current dilapidated condition was not always the case – the building began its life in 1903 as a symbol of the state’s boom times.

This distinctive historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: SuppliedHistorical features such as pressed metal and balustrading still remain. Photo: Supplied

According to the Heritage Council of Western Australia, Irish immigrant, medical practitioner and big-time real estate investor Dr Daniel Kenny enlisted well-known architect Charles Oldham to design the building.

A number of timber cottages were demolished to make room for the grand brick and iron two-storey structure.

In 1904 Mr Kenny had 35 houses and shops north of the railway line, making him a wealthy man and one of the most successful of his property-speculating medical peers. He died in January 1915.

This distinctive historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: Supplied The two-storey building started as a grand reflection of the state’s prosperity. Photo: Supplied

Dr Daniel Kenny, who built and owned 151-165 Beaufort Street, Northbridge. Photo: Supplied Dr Daniel Kenny, who built and owned 151-165 Beaufort Street, Northbridge. Photo: Supplied

The building still bears the name of one of its earliest tenants, William John and Catherine George’s George & George Drapers business.

Unsurprisingly the shop with the longest single use was that of a wine saloon, which served drinks for 50 years. Tenants came and went in the years following World War I, with trades including a confectionery, fruiterer, tobacconist, chemist and bank.

Post World War II the proprietors’ English surnames began to change, reflecting the new multicultural character of Northbridge.

The Metropolitan Regional Planning Authority took ownership of the building in 1973, with Mainstone Glass and Leadlights the last in a long line of tenants, shutting shop in 2012.

With the property open for expressions of interest until May 19, the buyer will not be selected solely on price, according to Colliers International investment services executive Tory Packer.

It will also depend on what the developer proposes for the site with its use to be aligned with the community and cultural vision of a rejuvenated Northbridge.

This distinctive historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: SuppliedBig spaces and big potential inside the 914-square-metre corner site. Photo: Supplied

This distinctive historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: Supplied The eventual buyer will be chosen not only on how much they are prepared to pay, but also on their vision for the property and how it fits with the community. Photo: Supplied

“The sale of 151-165 Beaufort Street will build on the ongoing revitalisation of Northbridge and is primed to take advantage of significant growth and investment in the area including the new museum construction of the new museum and Perth City Link which will reconnect the CBD with Northbridge and bring around $4 billion in private investment to the city,” MRA chief executive officer Kieran Kinsella said.

“With significant real estate action between Newcastle and Roe Streets planned over the next few years, this set of buildings lends themselves to redevelopment along the lines of the east side of William Street, which were successfully adapted to restaurants and bespoke and eclectic retail.

“The MRA sees that the high-profile location presents a unique opportunity for developers interested in preserving the heritage value of the building to deliver a unique mixed-use commercial or residential offering.”

This distinctive historical building at 151-165 Beaufort Street is for sale by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. Photo: Supplied The building is a unique opportunity for investors with an interest in heritage value, according to the MRA. Photo: Supplied

Ms Packer said the building was being sold as a refurbishment opportunity.

“This is a beautiful old building with prominent character, situated in an area that has undergone significant revitalisation in recent years,” she said.

“There is a real opportunity for someone to take an iconic parcel in a prime location and develop it into a unique commercial or mixed-use offering.”

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