Developers have warned they will walk away from the long-awaited redevelopment of Sorrento Plaza if they are restricted to building it less than six storeys high.
Residents opposed to a beachside high-rise in the northern coastal suburb have had a win, with the City of Joondalup imposing a four-storey height limit on its endorsement of the plans sent to the WA Planning Commission.
Plans for a six-storey complex of commercial properties and 76 apartments on the West Coast Drive site, which is home to popular cafe Voyage, have sparked vociferous opposition from some locals.
Redevelopment of the old and dilapidated Sorrento Plaza has been on the cards for at least 11 years and has been widely welcomed.
Danielle Davison, manager of Parcel Property which is representing the developers, said the development was not viable at less than six storeys because of the cost of building by the coast and need for underground parking.
“Should the WAPC adopt the alternate recommendation of four storeys, the development will not proceed and the site will remain as it is for years to come at the detriment to the hundreds of patrons that enjoy the facilities every weekend,” Ms Davison said.
She urged the planning commission to assess the new development based on the council officers’ original recommendation that it be approved at six storeys.
The site is made up of seven lots and multiple owners, including BP Australia, Peter Peard of Peard Real Estate and a syndicate led by businessman Garry Brown-Neaves.
Cr Michael Norman said residents he had spoken to agreed a four-storey limit was a “reasonable compromise”.
“Apart from the bulk seen by the many Sorrento residents living in the vicinity of the site, a six-storey building will look very imposing indeed to thousands of people who drive by each week on West Coast Drive or who walk or cycle on the adjacent shared path, which is all located at ground level,” Cr Norman said.
“Should the WAPC adopt the alternate recommendation…the development of the site will not proceed and the site will remain as it is for years to come”
Mayor Troy Pickard did not support the four-storey height limit, adding that a six-storey development was not high-rise and arguing that most people in Sorrento were not opposed to it.
“I must be honest, I was surprised with the low number of submissions objecting to the proposals,” Mr Pickard said.
He said 702 households were sent letters asking for their views and 21 per cent objected.