BUILDING giant Georgiou Group has been denied a two-year extension until February 2020 to commence construction of its $40 million, six-storey Vita apartment project on Northwood Street, West Leederville.
Members of the Metro West Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) voted 3-2 against the decision at a meeting at the Subiaco Council chambers on Monday.
Cambridge councillors Corrine MacRae and Pauline O’Connor supported the non-time extension motion, as well as JDAP presiding member Megan Adair.
JDAP deputy presiding member Clayton Higham and specialist member John Syme voted against the non-time extension, and argued that in today’s market it could take up to 10 years to get large projects financed and developed.
Georgiou Development executive director Jon Smeulders said he had hope for a different result.
“Obviously we are disappointed by the JDAP’s decision, but we respect the outcome,” he said.
“We’ll continue to actively market the Vita West Leederville project as we have been and work towards making a start as soon as we have secured some additional pre-sales.
“For us, it’s just business as usual.”
The site at 29-33 Northwood Street, which is set to house 60 apartments, received planning approval in February 2015, with a two-year deadline to begin earthworks.
In June last year, the DAP approved a one-year extension to the commencement date, which pushed it back until February 2018.
The decision against a time extension means Georgiou would have to decide whether to demolish the current building by August, in which case they can claim to have substantially commenced the development or take an alternative action.
West Leederville Residents Association chair Anne Lake said the decision was too much of a close call.
“I think this time the coin fell to our side but it could just as easily go the other way,” she said.
“We need to continue to be an influence on the finalisation of the Local Planning Strategy.”
Ms Lake and other local residents gathered earlier this year to voice their opinion on the development.
“The structure would have a heavy impact on ecology, privacy and traffic,” she said.
“Not only has our economy changed, but also we now have lost much of our amenity and our leafy suburb along with our infrastructure is now under duress.
“Northwood Street has met its capacity and it is now time to give thought to the residents who call West Leederville home.”