The developments at the Point Street car park and Queensgate sites will be decided by the regional Development Application Panel but Fremantle’s submission was required as the local authority.
Both are seven-storey, mixed-use proposals, with Point Street to include a hotel, apartments, a cafe and retail.
Queensgate will include offices, shops and a health studio.
The seven-storey height would require discretion on the part of the City, which could be granted if the development met certain criteria, particularly ‘distinctive architecture befitting its location and exceptional design quality’.
Former councillor John Downson spoke at the meeting, telling councillors the buildings were too large and that the expected design excellence had not been met.
He also claimed the Design Advisory Committee (DAC), which considered both applications, had misgivings about both.
With regard to the Queensgate development, councillors agreed the minutes provided from the DAC meetings included scant detail and said they would be more confident if there was more depth in the committee’s analysis.
‘As a councillor I need to be clear that to approve this with the additional height, it must be of exceptional design quality,’ Cr Jon Strachan said. ‘I have not got any expert advice telling me it’s of exceptional design quality.’
But officers said it was made clear to the DAC members what criteria a development needed to meet to be approved.
‘From the conversation I’ve had with the chair of the DAC there’s no doubt that that extra height makes the building function better,’ Mayor Brad Pettitt told the committee.
Ultimately the committee endorsed both developments, with Queensgate to be considered by full council next Wednesday.
‘To endorse an application with such significance is symbolically nice; it’s nice to start 2014 looking at this site looking at Point Street, looking at the future of our city,’ Cr Josh Wilson said.
After the meeting, Dr Pettitt said the DAC was working to benefit the City.
‘There is no doubt, however, that there is room for clearer reporting of the DAC’s views and the council met with DAC members [on Thursday night] to discuss how this can be improved so there is greater clarity.’
He said the two developments, along with the innovative saw tooth design for Spicers site and the Kings Square Council building, made for an exciting 2014.