Multi-storey townhouses to kick-start State Government’s Middleton Beach development

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Proposed hotel site at Middleton Beach.
Camera IconProposed hotel site at Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Up to six multi-storey townhouses will be built near the site of the old Esplanade Hotel in Middleton Beach to provide a shot in the arm for development at the prime location which has sat empty for more than 13 years.

The controversial 1.3ha lot has sat vacant since 2007 when the Esplanade Hotel and accompanying car museum were demolished.

The State Government bought the $7 million beachfront site in 2014, flagging plans for a new hotel and mixed residential and retail buildings.

State Government developer LandCorp, now DevelopmentWA, unveiled concept plans for a 120-room, 12-storey hotel in 2016 which divided residents’ opinion, with some vocally opposing a high-rise project and others calling for movement on the vacant lot.

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City of Albany Council voted to limit the maximum height of a hotel to 12 storeys, which was backed by then planning minister Donna Faragher in 2017.

Flinders Parade was realigned between Barnett Street and Adelaide Crescent in 2017 to make way for a hotel development north-west of Three Anchors.

DevelopmentWA chief executive Frank Marra said the State Government would deliver up to six two-three-storey terrace-style townhouses as the “first stage of activating the site”.

“We’re at the very start of the process and are currently in the early stages of developing detailed designs prior to tendering to local builders,” he said.

“As part of the development we’ll be investigating green power solutions and flexible zoning options for mixed commercial, retail and residential uses.”

Mr Marra said plans to develop an adjacent beachfront hotel were still on the cards, pending a buyer.

“The focus of the sites’ redevelopment remains the hotel and mixed-use opportunities fronting Flinders Parade, with the hotel site still on the market inviting proposals,” he said.

“However focus has shifted for the short term to kick off development activity with a first stage comprising of terrace-style housing within the mixed-use area.”

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said progress at the site had been a long time coming but the townhouses were a “terrific initiative”.

“I think it is going to be an excellent opportunity to see what can be done down there and show some developers and the people of Albany what they can do,” he said.

“Hopefully they will start construction prior to Christmas and then it will probably be a 12-month build, so it will probably be 18 months away before they are on the market.”

Mr Wellington said he hoped to see a hotel on the site, but it had to be economically viable.

“I think the opportunity is wonderful but it has to stack up economically so people can make money out of it,” he said.

“While we are going through COVID-19 and everything is in a downturn, it is a very difficult situation and I don’t think anyone is going to leap to the fore right at the moment.”

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