The Park Avenue Building (lot 40 Mounts Bay Road) is located on the corner of Park Avenue and Crawley Avenue, with Mounts Bay Road to the south. The site has several buildings that UWA uses for a variety of purposes.
Site access is via Poole Avenue and Park Avenue (off Thomas Street) and via Crawley Avenue (off Mounts Bay Road).
Built in 1925, the Park Avenue Building was the first permanent building constructed for the University and is listed on the State Register of Heritage Places.
The site includes the former residence of the UWA Vice-Chancellor and currently accommodates UWA Podiatry Clinic, the WA Heritage Memorial and the Perth Festival team.
In 2018/19, the University undertook extensive stakeholder and community engagement to inform the 2020 UWA Crawley Campus Masterplan. The Masterplan is a high-level 10-year plan that guides how the University should align our physical and digital environments with a vision for greater connectivity, engagement and a vibrant campus experience for our students, staff, and community.
During this process we identified we had sufficient land available at our Crawley and QEIIMC campuses to integrate and expand our future operations. As a result, the University has identified a significant number of assets that require ongoing investment and maintenance but may no longer be suitable for contemporary education needs.
We aim to consolidate our core activities of education and research within the Crawley and QEIIMC campuses, which have sufficient landholdings to accommodate future needs.
As outlined in the 2020 UWA Crawley Campus Masterplan, the University is considering various options in planning for our future property needs with a focus on consolidating activities to the Crawley and QEIIMC campuses and, through undertaking a planning process, investigating alternate uses for our Park Avenue site.
Further, the Masterplan has highlighted an urgent need for substantial investment in our Crawley/QEIIMC precinct. This investment aims to contemporise our campuses, including investments in IT infrastructure and digital transformation.
By consolidating activities to our main Crawley/QEIIMC precinct, we are creating opportunities to reinvest in our future. This will allow reinvestment of unlocked value from underperforming land assets and provide long-term sustainable growth.
Throughout the planning process, we have considered a variety of options and future uses for our Park Avenue site, including, but not limited to, educational uses, community uses, and student or residential development. Our objective it to approach the site’s future with a comprehensive and thoughtful perspective, respecting the endowment of our forebears while generating substantial and enduring educational, social and economic benefits to the Western Australian community.
Future planning for the Park Avenue site has been undertaken with consideration of the City of Perth’s current precinct planning process for the UWA/QEIIMC Activity Centre, and with local and State planning authorities and government to ensure an aligned approach that contributes positively to the surrounding area.
How has the site been used?
Part of the site was originally used by the Vice-Chancellor of UWA, who lived in Tuart House. Although this building is currently occupied by Perth Festival staff, Perth Festival has outgrown the premises and needs to move to larger premises.
The site currently also accommodates a state-heritage listed building that houses the UWA Podiatry Clinic (formerly used for UWA Zoology studies)
The site is also home to the WA Heritage Memorial.
While the University’s needs have changed over the years, the heritage-listed building remains.
Why and how was the Park Avenue site identified for future planning and potential alternative use?
In 2018/19, the University undertook extensive stakeholder and community engagement to inform the University’s 2020 UWA Crawley Campus Masterplan. The Masterplan is a high-level plan which guides how we align our physical and digital environments with the University’s vision for greater connectivity, engagement and a vibrant campus experience for our students, staff, and community. The process identified that sufficient land was available at our Crawley and QEIIMC campuses to integrate and expand the University’s future operations.
Through this process, the University has:
- Identified a significant number of assets that require ongoing investment and maintenance and are deemed inappropriate for contemporary education.
- A clear objective to consolidate its core activities of education and research to its existing Crawley and QEIIMC campuses where sufficient landholdings are available for future use.
- Undertaken detailed investigations of its landholdings (in line with the Masterplan) to inform planning for future use of its sites and main campuses.
The Park Avenue site was identified as lacking the contemporary facilities required to deliver a modern and future-focused educational and research experience (i.e. it was an underperforming land asset requiring significant and costly maintenance and was not fit for purpose) and could be considered for alternative uses.
UWA carried out further stakeholder and community engagement, as well as engagement with local and State planning authorities, taking into consideration the City of Perth’s current Precinct Planning process for the UWA/QEIIMC activity centre*.
* Activity centres are multi-functional community focal points that vary in size and function. They are generally well-serviced by transport networks with a focus on integrated pedestrian access and walkability, and may include land uses such as commercial, retail, food and hospitality, higher-density housing, entertainment, tourism, civic/community, higher education, and medical services.
What will any revenue derived from the site be used for?
Unlocked value from the Park Avenue site will be reinvested to provide revenue streams for future campus development in contemporary teaching and research facilities, student accommodation and IT infrastructure to optimise the Crawley and QEIIMC campuses for UWA’s students, staff, and the broader community.
Any revenue generated from redevelopment of the Park Avenue site will be reinvested into these main campuses. This is essential to ensure UWA can maintain a high-quality educational outcome and regenerate existing facilities.
- Key areas where revenue will be reinvested:
- Developing modern facilities for the school that will be relocated from the Park Avenue site.
- Improving or replacing other ageing facilities at the Crawley and QEIIMC campuses.
- State-of-the-art digital infrastructure and technology that supports contemporary teaching and learning.
- New equipment and resources that support contemporary education provision.
Has the site been acquired through an endowment?
No, the Park Avenue site has not been acquired through endowments. It is believed to have been acquired by UWA in 1922 as part of a swap of endowment lands.
Is there any community benefit to redeveloping the Park Avenue site?
Yes. The Park Avenue site is currently predominantly used for University purposes and not very accessible to the general public. Redevelopment of the site will enable greater community access, through the potential provision of community facilities, local retail, and hospitality facilities. In addition, there is the opportunity to provide greater housing choice in the local area to cater for a growing population.
While neighbouring properties do not provide community access, it is proposed that community access will be provided to the grounds and amenities on the Park Avenue site.
What is the University’s commitment to planning for the future needs of future generations?
As outlined in the 2020 UWA Crawley Campus Masterplan, the University is focused on ensuring the sustainability and growth of the University for decades to come. Any future plans for alternate uses for its surplus landholdings will respect our forebears and our responsibility to the future sustainability of the University by generating substantial, enduring educational, social and economic benefits to the Western Australian community.
What are key considerations for the future planning of the Park Avenue site?
There are a number of key considerations in the planning and associated engagement process for the Park Avenue site. These include for example:
- Ensuring a comprehensive approach to planning for the future use of the site, that is informed by stakeholder and community engagement.
- Consideration of various potential future uses including University uses, residential accommodation, retail and hospitality uses, community use, and student accommodation.
- Generating value from the site for the benefit of the University and its students and staff to reinvest back in contemporary facilities and services on the Crawley and QEII campuses.
- Integration with the surrounding precinct including key considerations such as buildings uses, traffic access, parking and building type.
- Respecting and integrating heritage buildings and retention of significant trees and landscaping into the future regeneration of the site.
What is the proposed planning process for the Park Avenue site?
The University has engaged expert consultants to deliver the planning and engagement processes for the site including investigating potential alternative uses of the site. The team of expert consultants includes town planners, urban designer, architects, heritage consultants, environmental consultants, landscape architects, transport engineers and other related areas of expertise.
Through this planning process, UWA will seek an amendment to the Metropolitan Region Scheme (Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage) and the Local Planning Scheme (City of Perth) to enable more uses of the sites than their current “University” reservation.
UWA has continued to proactively engage with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the City of Perth.
The planning for the Park Avenue site is being undertaken with consideration of the City of Perth’s current Precinct Planning process for the UWA/QEIIMC Activity Centre, and in consultation with local and State planning authorities and government to ensure an aligned approach.
A Local Planning Scheme Amendment describes the permitted uses on the sites. and establish key development criteria including building heights, setbacks, plot ratio and open space. Any future buildings require a development application which is a further separate process.
The key phases of the process include:
- Engagement to inform the concept plans for the site (current phase)
- Lodge proposed processes to enable alternative uses to occur in the future
- Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) amendment initiated
- Local Planning Scheme (LPS) amendment initiated
- MRS Scheme amendment statutory consultation undertaken
- WA Planning Commission (WAPC) considers submissions and MRS amendment and provides recommendation to the Minister for Planning
- LPS amendment statutory consultation undertaken by City of Perth (CoP)
- CoP considers LPS submissions and provides recommendations to the WAPC
- MRS amendment gazetted
- LPS amendment gazetted
This process will take until mid-2025 to complete .
Following this process any future proposals to redevelop existing buildings or develop any new buildings will require a separate development application for each building. Any development application and subsequent construction of a building would take at least 2-3 years.
How will the planning for the Park Avenue site align with the City of Perth’s planning framework?
Planning for the Park Avenue site is being undertaken with consideration of the City of Perth’s current Precinct Planning process for the UWA/QEIIMC Activity Centre, and in consultation with local and State planning authorities and government to ensure an aligned approach.
Is it proposed that staff and students will move from the Park Avenue site to the Crawley/QEIIMC precinct?
Yes, University uses will be transitioned and consolidated to the Crawley and QEIIMC campuses over time to allow development of the Park Avenue site as ultimately identified by this planning process.
What is being considered for the future of the Park Avenue site?
There has been no decision made on any future alternative uses for the Park Avenue site at this time. This is being informed by community engagement, site studies, feasibilities, and market conditions and will be indicated in the final concept provided in engagements later in 2022.
Community engagement has identified a range of ideas for potential future uses. These will be considered by the University and include:
- All types of accommodation (residential, short stay, student, retirement and QEIIMC-related)
- Commercial (e.g. offices), retail (e.g. shops) and hospitality (e.g. cafes; small bars)
- Community facilities and services (e.g. childcare)
What consultation was done to support the proposed future planning of the Park Avenue site?
The draft design concepts that were presented to the community were informed by extensive site investigations, stakeholder meetings, focus groups, surveys, pop-up displays and design workshops. Additionally, engagement has occurred with Aboriginal elders to inform the Cultural Narratives being completed for the sites by UWA’s Cultural Advisor Dr Richard Walley.
These initial draft concepts and the feedback received have been used to finalise the single planning concept completed for the Park Avenue site that will be presented to the community for feedback in March 2023.
Community and stakeholder feedback is one of the key inputs to help decide the future plans and uses of the site, as well as other considerations such as availability of key infrastructure, financial viability, and State and Local Government planning frameworks.
The engagement process has been supported by an extensive communications process including:
- Advertising via newspapers; site signage; letter drops across local suburbs; emails and flyers
- Video walking tour of the site
- Aboriginal Cultural Heritage videos of the site
The current planning process will also help inform future decision-making, including options for UWA to retain ownership or sell the site, redevelop the site or retain ownership of a portion of the site, or to enter a joint venture with other organisations to redevelop the site.
How will the University ensure the quality of future development on the Park Avenue site?
UWA is undertaking this planning process to ensure that the plans will generate a high-quality future outcome for the University and the community. Through this planning process, the University is developing site plans for an application for both a Regional Planning Scheme Amendment (Department of Planning, Land and Heritage) and Local Planning Scheme Amendment (City of Perth); to permit additional uses on the sites. Through this process (if the amendments are approved), it will put in place development standards that define in detail what is (and isn’t) allowed to be developed on the sites.
Currently building heights, building setbacks and building controls are unrestricted with the existing land zoning of the Nedlands and Park Avenue sites as Public Purposes (University).
If these planning scheme amendments are approved, it will result in development controls that articulate development standards on the site. This will include building heights, setbacks, parking requirements and permissible land uses. These controls will apply whether UWA seeks to retain ownership and redevelop the site, or whether another party seeks to do so in the future if either site is sold.
Any future decision by authorities regarding proposed development on the sites will need to adhere to these updated planning schemes.
How was the proposed scale of development determined?
The proposed scale of development has been determined by extensive market analysis and feasibility by property market experts to determine the level of development that is needed to be both viable and able to generate revenue to improve the amenities and services, while also providing resources to be reinvested to meet the University’s key infrastructure needs.
Will the University sell or redevelop the Park Avenue site?
No decision has been made regarding any future sale of the site or who would be responsible for any future redevelopment.
Extensive technical studies detailing investigations of its landholdings, and the stakeholder and community engagement which informed the plans, is enabling the University to consider a variety of options to ensure comprehensive future planning for its sites and main campus.
The current planning process will help inform this future decision-making, including options for UWA to retain ownership or to sell. UWA may opt to redevelop the full site, retain ownership of a portion of the site, or enter a joint venture with other organisations to redevelop the site.
Will future plans for the site allow for taller buildings?
Currently building heights, building setbacks and building controls are unrestricted with the existing land zoning the Park Avenue site as Public Purposes (University).
If the planning scheme amendments are approved, it will result in development controls that articulate maximum permitted building heights on the sites.
Community engagement findings made it clear that the majority of people preferred taller; slender buildings than lower buildings – therefore retaining more space for community amenities; trees and open space rather than bulkier buildings that would take up more ground area.
Additionally the use of slender buildings that take up less space and provide greater connections and accessibility to and through the site respond better to the Cultural Narrative in the preservation of native trees and the connections between Kings Park and the River.
The tallest builds on each site have been located in areas that will have the least impact on neighbouring residential properties.
The Park Avenue site is bordered by a number of existing residential towers with high density land use that are inaccessible to the community.
The plans propose to retain the heritage buildings; retain large areas of open space and trees and allow community access.
The scale of the buildings and their location on each site has been determined by extensive research undertaken by the expert advisory team to determine viable and sustainable developments.
Has consideration been given to any cultural heritage of the site?
UWA’s Cultural Advisor Dr Richard Walley has undertaken studies of the Park Avenue site and engaged directly with Aboriginal elders and the project planning team to identify the Aboriginal cultural significance of the site. Dr Walley’s findings have been incorporated into the concept development and his Cultural Narrative will guide any future use of the site.
Are there any heritage listed buildings on the site?
Heritage consultants were engaged to confirm if the use, or any of the other buildings on the site, warranted heritage listing as part of the University’s due diligence.
The proposed plans for Park Avenue include the retention of the heritage-listed Park Avenue Building which is currently used for the School of Podiatry (formerly used for Zoology).
Tuart House (the former Vice-Chancellor’s house) which is currently used by the Perth Festival will also be retained, as will the Tuart House garden.
What will happen to the existing trees on the site?
Plans for the Park Avenue site have been informed by ecology studies. Tuart House Garden will be retained as will a number of existing trees, where possible, with priority given to retaining older native species. The concept plans also identify areas where new planting can occur.
What will happen in relation to the offices of the Perth Festival?
UWA recognises its important connection to Perth Festival, having founded the festival in 1953 from the University’s annual summer school entertainment nights as a ‘festival for the people’.
UWA respects the important role that Perth Festival plays as a not-for-profit multi-arts festival bringing world-class performance, music, film, visual arts, and literary events to Perth every summer.
It is proposed that Perth Festival will move in the near future as the current facilities are not fit for purpose; require significant maintenance and impinge on the ability for the festival to operate optimally.
Perth Festival’s move to other premises will occur regardless of what is proposed in planning for the Park Avenue site.
What consultants has the University engaged to undertake this planning work?
The proposed planning process is complex and therefore the University has engaged an expert team of consultants, to undertake a range of work to ensure a high-quality planning outcome, in the following areas:
- Project management
- Town planning
- Stakeholder and community engagement
- Urban design
- Indigenous context
- European heritage
- Environment /ecology
- Traffic and transport
- Infrastructure and servicing
- Storm water and flooding
- Economic impact
- Geotech and environmental scientists
Cultural Tour of Park Avenue with Dr Richard Walley
How can I be involved in the engagement process?
We encourage you to provide your details through the button below. When engagement activities commence we will email you with the details on how to register and be involved.