28/05/2008 - 22:00

$13m park a site to behold

28/05/2008 - 22:00

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The rapid growth in Karratha's land and property prices in recent years has been well documented, but a $13 million price tag for a local caravan park has set a new benchmark.

$13m park a site to behold
OPPORTUNITY: A caravan park in KArratha is on the market for $13 million, which may attract one of the major portable accomodation or housing providers in the region. Photo: Courtesy Tourism WA

The rapid growth in Karratha's land and property prices in recent years has been well documented, but a $13 million price tag for a local caravan park has set a new benchmark.

Owned by Bunbury-based company Showcrest Pty Ltd, the caravan park has 85 powered sites, 10 chalets and about 50 caravans and cabins.

The opportunity to expand the business will be particularly attractive to buyers, with the site having room for a further 26 units.

Currently, the business is turning over $2 million in earnings before interest and tax, which could increase by a further $1.7 million if the park is extended.

It's a site that will lend itself to short-term accommodation for the mining industry, with the owners already having put on a total of 36 cabins especially for lease to mining contractors.

One company that could be interested is Perth-based developer Aspen Group Ltd, which owns the two remaining caravan parks in the town through its Aspen Parks division.

Aspen is also building a separate $28 million village in Karratha for Woodside Petroleum Ltd, which will contain 180 rooms on a 2.9-hectare site.

The project is expected to generate about $10.2 million in annual revenue.

In order to facilitate the project, Aspen transferred a portion of land from its Pilbara caravan park, held by the parks division, to the main group.

While a similar move would not be possible at its other caravan park, the Balmoral, Aspen is planning to expand the park beyond its existing 167 sites.

The company has also created a new property fund and is seeking to raise $40 million, which will be used to develop tourist villages.

Launched by Aspen last week, the Villages Property Fund will be used to develop six sites in four states.

Five out of the six sites are located interstate, with a 13.2ha site in Byford the only WA-based project.

This village will contain about 300 dwellings.

Aspen Group corporate sales manager Peter Harburn said the villages fund was based on an affordable living model, with tenants paying a rent towards community infrastructure, and the properties retained by Aspen.

The last acquisition made by the Aspen Parks fund was in late 2007, when it bought seven sites in Victoria.

The division also owns caravan parks in Port Hedland, Exmouth and Kununurra.

Meanwhile, East Perth-based Fleetwood Corporation Ltd is going ahead with its 1,400-room Searipple village for Woodside Petroleum Ltd in Karratha. The project is the biggest portable accommodation development in the region.

Fleetwood, which has already put on extra rooms since it was first contracted for the project, has the capacity to increase the development by 250 rooms if required.

Rents in Karratha are fetching $700 a week for basic accommodation, with better houses attracting $1,000 a week or more.

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