Posted by: Gregoryno6 | May 4, 2022

Demolished brewery curses the earth upon which it stood.

98 Mounts Bay Road was once the site of the Emu Brewery.

Image found at Museum of Perth. And may I state right now, for the record, that no emus were ever harmed in the manufacture of Emu product. (Not unless they were used as taste testers).

The brewery was a notable specimen of Art Deco architecture. Built in the 1930s, it was abandoned when Emu shifted its production to a new facility south of the river. It was still standing when I arrived in Perth in 1990, but in poor shape. The demolition crews finally took it down in 1992.

Today the site is known as Capital Square. The northern end of is occupied by the headquarters of Woodside Energy. Woodside took up residence in 2018; it was an easy move – just a few hundred metres at the most.

From left to right: QV1, Woodside new on Capital Square, Woodside old on the corner of St George’s Terrace and Milligan Street. Fun fact: down in the lower right, the initials that kept me employed for two years. Capital Square had just reached its halfway point when I joined KPMG as a records officer; I had a front row seat as the tower rose to its completion.

The remainder of the site is now under development. The second tower has been completed.

This will be the view when the third tower is completed.

I’m not so taken by the third tower. But it’s an improvement on an earlier design, which seems to owe a lot to something the architect found under Mummy’s bed.

Additional FreudianFunFact: the design was submitted by Cox Architects.

Phallic inspirations aside, the fact that anything stands (no pun intended) on the old Brewery site is a wonder in itself.

Distilled from Business News, a brief history of the site, and the proposals that didn’t get off the ground.

1989: Bond Corporation sells the site to FAI Insurance for $160 million.

1995: The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) issues approval for a four-level office and retail building, an eight-storey office building, and two apartment towers of 19 and 43 storeys. The approval stands for a period of five years.

2003: No progress has been made on the previous proposal. FAI sells to Emu Brewery Developments, controlled by the Westpoint Group, for $25 million.

2003, November: WAPC approves a proposal to build three residential towers, three low-rise buildings and a six-story carpark.

2004, August: Plan revised to comprise two residential towers and three low-rise buildings.

2005, August: Plan again revised. Residential towers of 52 and 61 storeys, and low-rise commercial building fronting Mounts Bay Road.

2006: Westpoint goes into receivership under investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

No action has been taken on the Brewery site. The land is sold for about $50 million to a joint venture between Saville Australia and Babcock and Brown. Saville plans to construct a $1.3 billion office and apartment project, comprising a 41-storey residential tower and 10,000sqm of office space.

2009: Saville goes into receivership.

2010: Malaysian based developer AAIG purchases the site for $49.5 million.

2014: Preliminary construction begins. Woodside announces its intention to be Capital Square’s anchor tenant.

Happy ending? Curse lifted?

Not quite.

2019: Woodside takes AAIG to court, claiming the second tower’s ‘toilet core’ will face directly across from their offices in tower one. It would appear that AAIG was trying to add a tall tower in the middle, but was forced to go with the short squarish tower from the Cox plans instead.

I daresay there will be an ‘On this place’ installation added somewhere to appease the historian types. Appeasing the old brewery’s hex might not be so easy.

Visit Stu’s Old Perth collections for pics of the beauties that once lined this city’s streets. None of them have demonstrated an ability to cause disruption from beyond the grave…

But…

There are a couple of lots that have been vacant an awfully long time.


Responses

  1. Great photos; I especially enjoyed the walk down memory lane in Perth. And what a shame (in my view) that that lovely old brewery came down. For a while in the mid-1980s, when I worked for Florida National Bank in Miami, my department was located in the Ed Ball building, a gorgeous old skyscraper completed, I believe, in 1938. It was full of beautiful art deco details in the interior. Fortunately, the building still stands; I believe the enormous mezzanine, with marble floors and walls, is used for weddings.

    • We still have East Perth Power Station at the other end of the city.
      https://developmentwa.com.au/projects/residential/east-perth-power-station/overview
      I was living just a mile away from the station when I first moved to Perth. It was home to the homeless back then, but it’s had a makeover and the broken windows have been replaced. And it’s fenced off.
      Some of the machinery is still onsite, so it has historical and heritage value. There’s no shortage of ideas about what to do with it; the problem is that the people with the ideas all want other people to pay for them.
      Supposedly, the long awaited redevelopment began this year. We’ll see.


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