Plans to demolish The Med restaurant to make way for a six-storey project have been put on hold due to height concerns.
GBW Developments’ $8 million development — including businesses on the ground floor and apartments above — was deferred for 120 days by the Joint Development Assessment Panel in a 3-2 vote on Wednesday.
The City of Subiaco previously voted to recommend plans for 414 Rokeby Road in Subiaco, where The Med stands, be refused because its height was contrary to its recently adopted local plan.
The now-closed restaurant was once owned by notorious businessman Alan Bond before becoming the electoral office for former Curtin MP and foreign minister Julie Bishop.
GBW director Nader El Sayed told the panel the proposal was at “a landmark site”.
“It deserves a beautiful building. 414 is the gateway to the Paris end of Subiaco,” he said.
“It’s currently greeted by an unattractive building dressed with telecommunications towers.”
Cr Rick Powell moved that GBW’s development be refused, saying it had “some merits” but did not deserve bonuses to height and plot ratio.
“It would put development at the end of the block, which is specifically where the plan has asked development not be overheight,” Cr Powell said.
“The argument that it’s a landmark site; well, there hasn’t been a provision for it to be made a landmark site.”
Cr Gary Kosovich said the development would “detract” from the character of the area.
During the meeting, Cr Kosovich claimed GBW “never had any intention” of meeting the local planning requirements and were solely focused on “maximising the potential of the site”.
GBW director Alex Hewlett disagreed and said while their development had to be commercially viable, they wanted to create a beautiful environment and had engaged with the city’s design team.
Panel member John Syme said there needed to be “a fair bit of regard” for the city’s plan and the additional height “pushes the boundary just a bit too far”.
Mr Syme proposed a deferral to give GBW time to reconsider the building’s height, to review its waste management plan and to engage in more talks with Subiaco’s design review panel.
JDAP acting presiding members Lee O’Donohue and member Rachael Chapman voted for Mr Syme’s deferral, with the two councillors on the panel voting against.