Bricks-and-mortar retail may have life left in it yet, despite many CBD-based organisations ending leases and vacancy rates increasing across the nation. And while warning of Australian ‘dead malls’ emerge, a Perth design firm has seen an opportunity to repurpose the upper levels of a retail property that has remained vacant for the last 35 years.
The bold move by Hames Sharley is due in large part to the firm’s pledge to creating a unique space to house its growing practice, combined with the Perth City’s incentives to attract new businesses and the continuing evolution of a vibrant business and residential hub.
The move comes at a time where news and views are dominated by pandemic opinion. And while major corporates navigate a gradual COVID related return to work policy, Hames Sharley surges forward, taking their place amongst some of their highest-profile CBD retail and commercial projects.
The new workplace will be arranged over two floors on Hay Street Mall, extending and occupying existing and disused department store floors above Target. It will also add a rooftop garden to the old retail building which will be partially visible from the mall, and will potentially add a ground-floor coffee shop.
‘Our new office will be a testament to the city’s strength as a creative centre and space for urban development while cementing our long-term commitment to the state,’ says Hames Sharley Founder, William Hames.
‘This is not just an opportunity for us to create a new studio for ourselves, it is also the rare opportunity to contribute towards activation and repurposing of the CBD retail mall upper floors; moving closer to many of our clients and fellow consultants. While we look forward, in taking space designed for retail, we also recognise the sector that has formed such a part of our successful history,’ reports Hames.
Hames Sharley has executed its entire briefing process upon itself, demonstrating a commitment to cultural change that is expected to lead to an agile hybrid occupancy that reflects modern work patterns.
‘We asked ourselves what does a design workspace need to be in the future and following a national series of workshops that we applied, the outcome will undoubtedly be unique. We look forward to being our own researchee as we strive to find clarity in the needs of future built form in this ever-changing world,’ says Managing Director, Caillin Howard.
The move by the design firm proves repurposing abandoned stores for workspaces will not only bring talent and customers to towns in need of new business but will also present an opportunity for growth in advancing corporates.
For close to half a century, Hames Sharley has designed and delivered buildings across Australia, China, and India earning a strong reputation as one of the most respected names in the built environment.
Current projects in Perth include the Subi East redevelopment, the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage fitout, Carillon City Redevelopment and NextDC.