A Perth-based consortium has been selected as the preferred proponent to redevelop Rottnest Island’s Lodge site.
The $40 million proposal from Place Development Australia, GPA Pty Ltd and Sirona Capital includes 94 rooms, a day spa, restaurant, kiosk, beach lounge, coffee shop, bar, new pool and onsite staff accommodation.
The selection of a preferred proponent to redevelop the Lodge follows the opening of Discovery Rottnest in 2019 and Samphire Rottnest in 2020.
Designed by Fremantle architects Spaceagency, the development will consist of a combination of new buildings to integrate with the natural environment, plus extensive upgrades to existing buildings including the Lakeside Villas and accommodation within the former Boys Reformatory.
A series of landscaped gardens will also be created to enhance the area’s open spaces and provide a public gathering area.
The proposed design will be advertised for public comment prior to final consideration by the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA).
Design guidelines conditionally endorsed by the Heritage Council were utilised to guide the development proposal.
RIA called for expressions of interest to redevelop the Lodge in March 2020. Six respondents were shortlisted and invited to submit detailed proposals against specific selection criteria including design, cultural and commercial factors. The submissions were assessed by an expert panel including representatives from RIA, Office of Government Architect and a member of the Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group (WARG).
The expression of interest and subsequent request for detailed proposal processes were overseen by an independent probity advisor.
Place Development is expected to take over the leasehold of the Lodge site on May 31, 2022 on expiry of the current lease with the Karma Group.
RIA has undertaken extensive due diligence on the Lodge site including ground penetrating radar surveys, an ethnographic survey and an archaeological survey in conjunction with Whadjuk Noongar Traditional Owners. The lease boundary for the project was adjusted to exclude any potentially sensitive areas.
The Lodge is situated next to the former Aboriginal prison building known as the “Quod”. Whadjuk Noongar people will lead consultation on a proposal for the future of the Quod as part of The Wadjemup Project.
Redevelopment of the Lodge site is anticipated to start in mid 2022 with completion in 2025 and will generate a significant number of construction and hospitality jobs.
The Island has benefited from a number of major infrastructure projects in 2020 including the upgrade of 10 kilometres of roads in the settlement, construction of a new $3 million Fuel Jetty and a major redevelopment of the Island museum, which has been renamed Wadjemup Museum to reflect the Island’s Aboriginal heritage and honour the Whadjuk Noongar Traditional Owners.
The main retail mall in the settlement and the Basin precinct will also undergo major upgrades this winter.
As stated by Tourism Minister David Templeman:
“I am delighted that a Western Australian consortium is leading this significant development on our iconic Rottnest Island.
“Place Development is a specialised property delivery team driving projects through the phases of acquisition, master planning, design and delivery. Recent high-profile projects include the Westin Perth and Hibernian Place in the Perth CBD and Fremantle’s FOMO-Kings Square.
“Their proposal brings together a consortium of highly-regarded operators for the hotel, food and beverage operations, and the wellness spa.
“Place Development is committed to respecting the important cultural history of the Island and the Lodge site through harmonious design elements that will enhance the natural surrounds and provide a premium visitor experience.
“The design incorporates a series of gardens set around the buildings known as the ‘Gathering Ground’, which will be used as a social hub where guests, island visitors and tour operators are welcomed and able to meet, start a tour, or to just relax and take in the natural surrounds.
“This exciting redevelopment planned for Rottnest will help to stimulate the Island by attracting new visitors, offering regular visitors new accommodation with a range of affordable and boutique options while providing new visitor experiences and amenities.”