Re-thinking Old Buildings Part of Plan to Revitalise CBD

The State Government is being urged to follow the example of other Australian cities in creating building upgrade schemes to help breathe new life into the CBD.

The introduction of building upgrade finance schemes, in the form of accessible loans, would act as an incentive for the improvement or re-adaption of aging buildings and address the emerging problem of rapidly deteriorating older commercial buildings in the CBD. Importantly, this scheme will also lead to a more sustainable built environment.

“With the Perth CBD office market vacancy at its highest level in over 20 years (21.8%), smart strategic policy is needed to ignite a genuine CBD revival,” Property Council WA Executive Director Lino Iacomella said.

“Building upgrade finance schemes should be the first such policy as it will support the upgrade and reinvention of older buildings so that they are better equipped to attract new tenants and compete with new stock on the market.”

“These schemes overcome the ‘split-incentive’ barrier in leased buildings where a tenant enjoys the benefits of reduced utility costs yet the building owner has to wear the cost of capital improvements.”

“Building upgrades can reduce operating costs, increase yields and improve asset values, while providing excellent benefits for tenants such as improved amenity and a better working environment.”

“The property industry is calling on the winner of next year’s state election to commit to changing the Local Government Act to allow councils to enter into building upgrade agreements.”

Building upgrade finance is a voluntary mechanism to assist building owners upgrading commercial buildings to improve environmental efficiency through more efficient energy and water use.  Loans are tied to a property rather than a property owner and local repayments are collected by a council levy.

Similar agreements have been introduced in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland to combat high vacancies.

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Media contact:  Lino Iacomella  |  M  0417 501 974   |   E  liacomella@propertycouncil.com.au