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Green light Sirona Tower Perth Zoo

posted 19 Nov 2019, 02:29 by Happi Mess   [ updated 19 Nov 2019, 02:30 ]

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Sirona seals deal on $65 million apartment tower across from Perth Zoo

Sirona Capital's 38-storey, $65 million apartment tower across from Perth Zoo, Lyall Residences, was finally approved on Monday, after a year’s rollercoaster ride through a swiftly changing local planning landscape.

Lyall Street and Labouchere Road, Sirona Capital.Credit:Lyall Street and Labouchere Road Sirona Capital

The 30-70 joint venture proposal between Sirona Capital and Singaporean construction giant Chip Eng Seng Corporation took over from the previous bulkier proposal, titled 'Glass House', lapsed amid uncertainty over local planning scheme changes.

But Sirona’s plan for the Lyall Street/Labouchere Road corner, a still tall but more slender tower with a distinctive gridded frame designed by eastern states architecture firm Bates Smart, has not had the easiest ride.

It will offer something unprecedented in Perth: 200-square-metre "sky homes", three and four-bedroom apartments with impressive panoramic views.

Sirona Capital appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal after a 42-storey version was knocked back last December amid further uncertainty over local planning rules, and has made numerous modifications to get it over the increasingly strict design line the state is imposing on apartment developers.

The project has 99 apartments, a mix of one to four-bedroom, a pool and gym on level three, shaded roof terrace on the top of the three-storey podium, a cafe/restaurant on the ground floor, a medical tenancy and private offices on the first floor, a community meeting room and public gallery/display space, and ‘incubator’ co-working space.

It will have 85 bike parking bays, publicly accessible end-of-trip facilities and a five-star Green Star rating. A 200 square metre space for rooftop solar panels has been added and two additional trees added in deep soil area on the south side of the development. The verge trees planted will be spotted gums.

Seven local residents, including a representative of the ratepayers’ association, attended the meeting to give deputations against the building. They worried it was too tall, didn’t have enough ground floor commercial space to activate the area, that it didn’t benefit the community enough to justify the height bonus and that there were issues with water management and wind and traffic and overshadowing.

Sirona Capital's proposed project at Lyall Street/Labouchere Road, opposite Perth Zoo. 

Council officers noted concerns about overshadowing of the Perth Zoo solar panels but said analysis had demonstrated that in a worst-case scenario, there would be a 5.5 per cent impact on the Perth Zoo solar array’s annual power generation potential.

They said while the overall height was tall relative to the surrounding buildings, there were other existing tall buildings in the wider area and the closeness to the ‘Civic Heart’ site – the landmark site for the area – was also noted in deeming it appropriate to allow a higher building.

The podium height related well and was respectful to the existing surrounding built form, council officers said, while the proposal successfully addressed the prominent Labouchere Road street corner and stepped down along the side street towards the low-rise existing developments

The impact of the tower was softened by the gridded frame and the podium-height wing to the west, and the narrowness created an "elegant" appearance, they said.

It maximised the number of apartments facing north which provided good passive solar design, reducing energy usage; 64 per cent of the apartments had natural cross-ventilation and the regular recesses in the facade would provide shading during summer. Solar panels on the roof would also reduce energy consumption.

The Office of the Government Architects concluded the proposal addressed the state’s new liveable apartment design guideline to a high level.

It was “distinctive and memorable, exhibiting high levels of quality,” the office reported.

"The design and it has the potential to deliver an exceptional, unique landmark for the area," it said.

Sirona's project viewed from eye level. Credit:Artist's impression.

City of South Perth officers recommended the panel approve the project subject to conditions including that the proponent pay for both the cost of removal of two street trees, and also a sum calculated as compensation for the lost amenity value – interesting to note, considering the recent failed attempt by the City of Bayswater to have a developer pay for lost street tree amenity.

Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said while the path to approval was long and frustrating and expensive, it was worth the effort.

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