Property Australia

Twiggy’s play in rebooting the heart of the Perth CBD


Left to right: John Hartman, Tattarang Chief Investment Officer, Nicola Forrest AO, Tattarang Director & Basil Zempilas, Lord Mayor of the City of Perth.

In Perth, it has been argued that if you can fix Carillon City, you can fix the CBD. Now, billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy' Forrest and his wife Nicola Forrest (pictured above, middle) have entered the fray in the hopes of establishing a new experiential precinct at the site.

Tattarang, the Forrest’s family office, revealed plans to buy Carillon City last week. Fiveight, a branch of Tattarang, has been charged with redeveloping the renowned shopping area in order to establish Perth as a world leader in innovative retail and experience attractions.

Carillon City is located in the centre of the CBD, between the major Murray and Hay Street malls. It is the only location in Perth with pedestrian laneways, arcades, and walkways connecting it to the Perth railway station, cultural centre, and Elizabeth Quay, and it provides linkage between the northern end of the CBD and the Swan River.

It is the city's most central retail location, spanning 5,723 square metres. The precinct was initially two different arcades: City Arcade, which opened in 1970, and Carillon Arcade, which opened in 1982, before merging to become the Carillon City shopping centre.

Tattarang Director Nicola Forrest AO said a revitalised Carillon precinct will be city changing and catalyse the re-birth of Perth’s civic heart. 

“For the past 50 years, the Carillon arcades and walkways have connected the commercial and retail arteries of our growing city, however we believe its true potential as a world-class sustainable urban precinct can now be unlocked,” she said. 

“As the new custodians of this critical component of Perth’s city core, we are committed to delivering a new future for the way we work, visit and play in the centre of a modern, sophisticated city in the twenty-first century.”

John MeredithJohn Meredith (pictured), head of Fiveight, said the location was a primary reason for doing the deal in the first place.

“If Carillon had been 400 meters down the street, we wouldn't have done [the deal],” he said. 

“The central location is really important from a city shaping perspective, and the fact that it frames Forest Place. That's also what makes it a good retail location.”

For Meredith and the team, which has grown from 0 to 25 employees in its two-year existence, each development they undertake needs to tick three boxes.

Each development must have a beneficial influence on the surrounding community and do "good" in ways such as sustainability. The firm stated that it intends to invest in innovative building methods and materials to provide the next generation of sustainable development.

The final box needed to be ticked is around commerciality and a return on investment. 

“I think we found early on, there was a perception or a confusion that we were a philanthropic driven commercial business,” Meredith said. 

“And we sort of are, but we sort of aren't. We're there to be unapologetic around making money. But the difference is, the profits that we generate fund philanthropy. So, it's not about making a loss on our projects, it's about making as much profit as we can, because we know it's going to then fund impact through Minderoo Foundation.”

These boxes have inevitably led to some tough projects to be on the books.

Fiveight's broad property portfolio includes the landmark Indiana in Cottesloe, the proposed Ningaloo Lighthouse Resort in Exmouth, and the Swan Brewery on the banks of the Swan River in Perth.

Also in the CBD, Fiveight acquired 190 St Georges Terrace in 2020, a 12-level A-grade office building with more than 9,200 square metres of leasable floorspace, with a commercial tenancy relaunch to be announced later that in the year.

“Everything that we do, has a pretty fine microscope applied to it. So, we're going to operate with integrity, and do a good job on it,” Meredith said, “But it also means that sometimes the journey is challenging.”

While a number of redevelopment plans for the Carillon site have already been developed, Fiveight will now embark on a global search for the most inventive mixed-use design principles that maximise the actual potential of its strategic position.

Tags: Perth