The City of Perth is a relatively young metropolis by world standards. At times in the past Perth has been labelled “Dullsville” by those who consider it lacks facilities, activities and attractions beyond its role as the government, business and work centre for most West Australians.
During the last couple of years the City has been going through a significant maturing process. Evidence of change was the announcement recently by the head of Tourism. A significant central city site was released with State Government support to enable a major hotel/mixed use development to take place. The 7350m² site enjoys street frontage to Hay, Irwin and Murray Streets and is currently occupied predominantly by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) building.
Perth has become Australia’s fastest growing city brought about by its role as the major gateway and administrative service centre of a resource driven state. As a consequence great pressure has built in the demand for support facilities. This has been most evident in the accommodation sector with the well publicised chronic shortage of hotel rooms. Perth’s hotel market has been unable to cope with the unprecedented corporate sector demand. Room rates and occupancy levels have been driven up to become arguably the highest in the nation. No major hotel has been built for years. The recent announcement was said to be the first of others to endeavour to address the shortage.
At the other end of the scale of hospitality services the small bar industry has flourished since the introduction of the 2007 reform of the liquor licensing legislation. Dozens of small bars have sprung up in and around the central business district since then. Many new establishments now operate in what hitherto were regarded as the most unlikely of places. With the great encouragement from the Perth City Council the activation of hitherto disused laneways, and the occupation of many otherwise neglected spaces by small intimate establishments have given Perth a much needed growth spurt. The number of eating and drinking outlets and their diversity have recently been significantly augmented by the many sophisticated larger tavern establishments now operating in some of the newer city developments.
This fairly dramatic transformation of the scene is clearly not limited to hospitality services. The imminent launch of City Square, (now Brookfield Place) with the opening of the BHP Building and associated group of heritage buildings on St Georges Terrace will create a comprehensive and exciting hospitality precinct not previously enjoyed here.
Numerous major initiatives such as the Perth Arena, the State Theatre Centre, the Waterfront Development, City Link Project, and the new Burswood Stadium Perth will mean Perth will emerge in the next five years as a maturing city with plenty to offer both locals and visitors. This remarkable expansion of facilities and unprecedented growth spurt will have long term positive consequences for both the local community, business generally and all visitors to Perth.
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