Perth in Focus
The Pull Factor of the CBD


Thursday, 16 March 2017
11:30 - Registration Opens
12:00 - Event Start
14:30 - Event Concludes


Hyatt Regency Perth
Grand Ballroom
99 Adelaide Terrace, Perth



Table of 10 $1650
Table of 8 $1320
Per Person $175

Table of 10 $2000
Table of 8 $1600
Per Person $210

This includes a two course lunch with wine.

OPEN TO PUBLIC Registration has now closed

Event Overview

Lunch Learnings: The Pull Factor of the CBD, what's next for Perth?

Only weeks after the first Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom project Steering Committee meeting, Lyle Bicknell, Principal Urban Designer at the City of Seattle, shared his presentation, ‘The Pull Factor of the CBD’ at the first Perth in Focus luncheon for 2017. Lyle detailed Seattle’s transformation as part of its efforts to avoid the boom/bust cycles.

Lyle discussed some of Seattle’s history and how it suffered from being a one business town – Boeing. He explained how in 1971, when government funding for the supersonic transport (SST) was withdrawn, its workforce was halved from 80,000 to 40,000. At this point unemployment soared and homes were abandoned. 

Interestingly, it was the mass production of the Boeing 747 that reinvigorated the Seattle workforce, as Seattle became the first and only city at the time where you could fly non-stop to London or Tokyo. 

Prosperity began to return and in 1979 Microsoft moved into the central area. Now, the city and its suburbs are home to a number of technology companies including Amazon, Nintendo of America and Expedia and coffee chain Starbucks is headquartered there. 

Lyle explained how US$74 billion has been invested in public transport, and that the last US$52 billion tranche, approved by a referendum, will be funded by a number of taxes and charges including an increase in car registration fees.

The key takeaways from the presentation about the best way to avoid the boom/bust cycle is:

  • Economic diversity, don’t be reliant on one industry
  • Have a housing, jobs and retail balance in the city centre, so you can create an 18+-hour economy
  • When it comes to building infrastructure, or having businesses establish themselves, make sure they’re authentic, unique and genuine. In certain parts of Seattle, franchises aren’t allowed
  • Have liveable and walkable streets
  • Make sure you have a raft of transport options
  • Build for your people and the tourists will come
  • Culture is the glue that holds a city together

Meet our speakers and panellists

Lyle Bicknell Image

Lyle Bicknell

Principal Urban Designer, City of Seattle

Lyle Bicknell is Principal Urban Designer with the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development where he promotes urban design excellence throughout the built environment. 

He is the City’s urban design lead for large transportation projects, transit oriented neighborhood planning and center city redevelopment initiatives. Lyle is a member of the executive board of Seattle’s Allied Arts and serves on the Seattle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Urban Design Forum. As the 2012 Scan|Design Professional Fellow he analyzed superior transportation integration and urban design in Scandinavia.

Lyle is an affiliate faculty member of the University of Washington’s College of the Built Environments where he received his architectural degree.

Adrian Fini OAM, CitWA Image

Adrian Fini OAM, CitWA

Director, FJM Property

Adrian Fini is Director of FJM Property Pty Ltd and Fini Group Pty Ltd, private property and investment groups.

He has been involved in the Perth property industry for over 30 years.

Adrian is a current Board member of the University of Western Australia Business School Board and their New Century Campaign, the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF), and he is also Chair of the Art Gallery of WA Foundation and was awarded an OAM for his contributions to the arts in 2014.

He was awarded West Australian of the Year and Western Australian Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016.

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Gail McGowan

Director General, Department of Planning

Gail was appointed Director General of the Department of Planning in April 2014.

Gail has overseen the development by the Department of Planning of the WAPC’s suite of draft strategic land use planning documents, Perth and Peel@3.5million, to consider how best to accommodate a population of 3.5 million people by 2050. She also has responsibility for implementing comprehensive planning reforms.

Gail is a highly regarded leader and negotiator across industry, government and the wider community. She has previously held senior positions at the Department of State Development, Worksafe and for State and Federal Ministers of Parliament. Gail is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and member of Chief Executive Women of Australia.

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John Williams

Managing Director, WA, Jones Lang LaSalle

John Williams is a Regional Director of JLL and is the Managing Director for Western Australia.

He is responsible for the day to day operation of the Perth business which is the largest and oldest commercial real estate services firm in WA. 

John has 32 years’ experience in real estate investment sales in local and international markets and has been involved in asset sales totaling in excess of $1.5 billion including CBD office buildings and significant development sites for Government, institutional and private clients.

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Erica Barrenger

A/Director Planning and Development, City of Perth

Erica Barrenger is a highly regarded Project Manager in Design and Development with diverse experience, having managed large multidisciplinary teams to deliver significant developments across Australia.

Erica strives to create places where people want to live and a destination for all. Erica has managed the design and development of brown and green field sites and revitalisation of inner city areas in Melbourne and across Victoria as part of the Docklands Authority and then later with VicUrban.

Erica is credited with delivering several transformative projects during this period, such as Comtech Port and Yarra’s Edge in Docklands, Riverwalk in Werribee and infill sites in Greensbourgh, Bonbeach and Narre Warren.

As Manager of Urban Design and Architecture for GHD in Tasmania, Erica rolled out the school upgrade projects and developments for defence and local government. Erica was a member of the Property Council in Tasmania working on sustainable and planning initiatives to facilitate sustainable developments within Tasmania.

Erica’s current role as Director of Planning and Development at the City of Perth builds on significant local development achievements and will continue to work towards making Perth the world’s most liveable city; by maintaining and enhancing the natural and built environment; facilitating the development of culturally diverse and engaging experiences and implanting strategies to guide the future development of Perth.

Having lived in cities across Australia and the world, Erica proudly calls Perth home citing the capital city’s natural beauty and potential for further growth as its key attractors.

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Owen Thomas

Executive Director, Infrastructure Planning and Land Services, Public Transport Authority

Owen is responsible for leading a team of passionate staff in planning for the future of Perth’s rail network, and managing the PTA’s wider land assets and environmental obligations. Prior to this role Owen worked as the PTA Manager for Route and Infrastructure Utilisation Planning and as a senior planner at the Department of Transport, most recently as part of the MAX Light Rail project team. Owen started his career working for the PTA in 2001 as part of the Transperth Service Development team, where he was involved in the day to day planning and operations of Perth’s public transport system. Owen has qualifications in both land use and transport planning, and in 2007 was awarded the CILTA/SCLAA WA Young Professional of the Year.