Developers keen on Beaufort St
By Katie McDonald
20 November 2020
Given Tim Willing's Longstanding connection to Mount Lawley, the enthusiasm he projects for his busyness’s property development just off Beaufort Street comes as no surprise.
Down the road from his childhood home. Mr Willing's Clifton & Central development started construction last month.
Adjoining an already-popular cafe (on the site of the redeveloped deli), the project will deliver 15 apartments and several small shops.
In the nearly 50 years since the Willing family has called Mount Lawley home, Perth has grown and sprawled, making way for the new suburbs and shopping malls.
However, much of Beaufort Street has maintained its original village charm, anchored by a main street home to many family-run businesses supported by a well-established community network.
It is that charm Mr Willing points to as a potential reason for why the area has piqued the interests of property players of late.
“Perth has been in the real estate doldrums for a number of years…the good thing about that is, as a developer you’ve had to think differently; the quality and the offer had to improve,” Mr Willing told Business News.
“My thinking [for Clifton & Central] had come from that niche village centre and how to recreate that…a way of life that never left Europe, with markets and fresh food etc.”
Mr Baltinas said Beaufort Streets mix of tenants – fashion, food and entertainment venues – as well as its art deco architecture and public transport connectivity, made it a sought-out locale.
“All of this combines to create a highly-appealing lifestyle and means that, as a developer, we can be sure of strong demand from buyers, which help[s ensure a successful project, “ Mr Baltinas told Business News.
“Demand for downsizing in this location is continuing to grow, but the land in the area is very tightly held and there’s a limited amount of real estate available right on the café and retail strip.”
More developments in the area could be on the agenda for Mr Baltinas, who said he intended to work closely with the landowners to seek out the suture opportunities.
“We remain committed to the area, which we love and value, “he said.
I.Q Property and Projects real estate agent and land acquisitions consultant Nick Di Lello said there’d been and uptick in interest in the area, and he was working with developers and architects to unlock the potential of a number of undisclosed sites along Beaufort Street.
I think the appetite is going to grow when developers see other projects coming out of the ground; they’ll be watching to see the levels of success, “he said.
Nicheliving Managing director Ronnie Michel-Elhaj said more than half of the 58 apartments at the company’s Beaufort Street Development, Sky Homes, had already sold ahead of construction starting December.
Mr Willing’s projects form part of a more than $100 million pipeline of residential developments under way or planned in and around Beaufort Street.
Construction has started on the architect and developer Barry Baltinas’s Challis mixed-use development at 539 Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley.
The $29 million, eight-story project will feature 26 one-to-three-bedroom apartments, two offices, four retail spaces and a refurbished drycleaners shopfront, as well as solar panels and rainwater harvesting technology.
Mr Willing said those influences gave rise to the incorporated of 50-square-metre tenancies on the project’s ground floor, priced to attract independent small businesses, with a florist already secured.
“we don’t see ourselves as a traditional property developer. This is our home, we’re deeply invested here and that’s the difference, “he said.
“Establishing the coffee shop and the undertaking our own roasting was initially a love project. However, I quickly realised…I was able to tap into a community sentiment and gain a solid understanding of what the community wanted to see in terms of residential development and retail mix.”
That strategy has proved successful so far, with three shops and several apartments sold.
Cementing his confidence in the area, Mr Willing has another project planned on Field Street (see map), near Astor Theatre.
Apartment living was a concept Mount Lawley (renowned for its character homes) and Perth more generally were slowly adapting to, Mr Willing said, but hoped quality design and the need for diversity in the housing choice would positively influence perceptions.