NEW HEART OF THE CITY
YAGAN Square — Perth’s new beating heart — is nearing completion and when finished, it will reconnect the CBD with Northbridge for the first time in more than century.
Today, The Sunday Times can reveal the first 10 ventures that will breathe life into the square, which is located within the arms of the heritage-listed Horsehoe Bridge next to Perth railway station.
The three-level attraction, set to open in early 2018, will feature hospitality and retail outlets with a strong emphasis on WA products and produce, making the area a central hub showcasing the best the State has to offer.
From a big restaurant and bar, a specialist honey shop, to a market place with outlets offering everything from fish and chips to gourmet toast, there will be a range of offerings tempting tourists, city commuters and weekend revellers.
“This is going to be Perth’s premium meeting place,” Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority chief executive Kieran Kinsella said.
“It will be to Perth what Federation Square has become to Melbourne in terms of being a place for people to come out, to congregate, to have food and beverage, entertainment and to enjoy the natural ambience of the wildflower gardens and the nature play playground for the kids.”
Sandwiched between the train station and the central bus depot, the $74 million development, part of the $5 billion Perth City Link project, is expected to see about 60,000 people move through the space daily.
A 20m long pedestrian bridge connecting the northern and southern sides of the upper level of Yagan Square has been installed. Construction of the Market Hall and Horseshoe Lane buildings, which will house food and beverage operators, is also complete.
Later this month, the landmark 45m digital tower’s giant circular screen will be installed. It will tell stories of the area’s indigenous heritage and show major sporting events.
The 22 food, beverage and retail outlets will have a strong WA emphasis and a wildflower garden will be a “mini” Kings Park in the heart of the city.
“There’s a lot of travellers at the moment so getting people to come into the city and actually stay in the city and not go to the suburbs would be good,” said Emma Ainsworth, whose gourmet toast bar Henry Little will be part of the Market Hall.
The Shoe Bar will be one of the biggest venues on site, with a capacity of 300. The bar plans to open from 6am to midnight, serving coffee to early-morning commuters and cocktails to the after-work crowd.
Co-owner Kieran Glynn, who is also involved in the Hyde Park Hotel and Cobblers Tavern, said he and his business partners had considered Elizabeth Quay, but decided Yagan Square was a better prospect.
“Elizabeth Quay is very seasonal. It goes very well in the summer but in winter maybe not so much, whereas (Yagan Square) is right in the city,” he said.
“It combines Northbridge with the city. We think it’ll be terrific. It’s going to be the absolute centre of the city.”
Josh Catalano, from the popular food truck The Fish Boss, will be opening his first fixed tenancy in the square’s Market Hall. He said the WA focus of the development drew him and his business partners to the project.
“When we heard about the other storeholders that are going to be in there and everyone being from WA it was probably the selling point (for us),” he said.
“We’re pretty passionate about WA and West Australian produce.”
The MRA is eager to have as many outlets operating as soon as the square opens early next year.
It will be to Perth what Federation Square has become to Melbourne in terms of being a place for people to come out, to congregate, to have food and beverage.