William Street Wins UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage Conservation Award

The refurbished William Street Precinct in Northbridge beat strong competition from 11 countries to win an award in the 2012 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Planning Minister John Day said the judges awarded the precinct an Honourable Mention for its contribution to revitalising Northbridge and for creatively balancing heritage conservation with investment opportunities.

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State Government Spent $18million for Rejuvenate

William Street Wins UNESCO Award"Over the past two years, the State Government has spent more than $18million to revitalise the Perth Cultural Centre, including refurbishing a number of heritage buildings along the eastern side of William Street," Mr Day said. "Conserving the important heritage elements and unique character of those buildings was a key objective of the project while also reinforcing the role of William Street as a gateway to Perth and a major inner-city connection."This award is a very welcome celebration of both the success of the project and the social and cultural value of heritage conservation in urban renewal."

Heritage Minister John Castrilli said the William Street Precinct was one of four Western Australian Heritage Award winners endorsed by the Heritage Council and shortlisted for nomination by UNESCO as part of a new State Heritage Office initiative to raise the profile of WA heritage projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The William Street Precinct was one of only eight projects recognised by the UNESCO awards this year, illustrating the high calibre of heritage conservation work being undertaken through the collaboration between the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and the Heritage Council," Mr Castrilli said.

William Street
William Street

Mr Day said together with the State Theatre Centre and investment in the Perth City Link, the revitalisation of the Perth Cultural Centre and William Street was changing how people interacted with the city and providing new reasons to reconnect with areas they would have once avoided.

"Today, William Street offers an exciting inner-city shopping experience and is home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, galleries, niche retail and clothing stores and is fast becoming one of Perth's most important urban landmarks," he said.

The William Street Precinct is a series of heritage-listed historic buildings constructed between the 1890s gold rush and 1925; it is the biggest group of commercial buildings in the inner metropolitan area to have survived late 20th century development largely intact.

Before conservation, the buildings were neglected and badly maintained with pest infestations, underperforming tenants, squatters, vandalism, litter, ad hoc additions and structural safety and weatherproofing issues - while the area as a whole was regarded as culturally sterile and unsafe.

The State Government has spent millions of dollars to restore individual buildings within the precinct, using traditional materials to recreate shop fronts and awnings in the spirit of the original facades; upgrade public areas; and implement a targeted leasing strategy to encourage a diverse mix of uses by day and night.

The precinct is now Western Australia's foremost inner-city heritage precinct - a vibrant urban quarter and thriving home for creative industries, restaurants and galleries occupying restored historic buildings. Tenants in the precinct include Jean Pierre Sancho, Outre Gallery, Fox Hunt Gentleman's Academy, Periscope Clothing, Aisuru Sushi and the newly opened Flipside Burgers.

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