23/08/2021 - 14:46

$16m facelift for Vic Park heritage

23/08/2021 - 14:46

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Blackoak Capital Ventures has been selected as the preferred proponent for the restoration and redevelopment of the Edward Millen Heritage Precinct in East Victoria Park.

Town of Victoria Park chief executive Anthony Vuleta (left) COO Natalie Adams and Ms Vernon with federal member for Swan Steve Irons and Mr Mack at Edward Millen House.

Blackoak Capital Ventures has been selected as the preferred proponent for the restoration and redevelopment of the Edward Millen Heritage Precinct in East Victoria Park.

The private Western Australia-based property investor and developer plans to undertake a $12 million redevelopment of the site into a hospitality and entertainment precinct, featuring eateries, a gastropub, event and function space, local produce, artisanal offerings, a farmers’ market and a public museum.

The announcement follows the launch of Blackoak's $40 million fund investment fund targeting opportunities in the Specialist Disability Accommodation sector.

Blackoak’s appointment to the Edward Millen Heritage Precinct follows a competitive tender process conducted by the Town of Victoria Park, which called for proposals that targeted community, cultural and commercial outcomes.

The 4.7-hectare precinct is located on Hill View Terrace and Albany Highway and comprises parklands as well as several heritage-listed buildings, including the 1912-built Edward Millen House.

As part of the appointment, Blackoak will secure a 20-year ground lease over 1.5ha of the site that includes the Edward Millen House and other heritage buildings.

Under the proposed lease, Blackoak will carry out the heritage restoration work on the buildings, pay rates, taxes, outgoings, insurance and ongoing maintenance costs of the buildings, any new buildings and immediate surrounds.

The lease will include five options to renew of 10 years each.  

In addition to Blackoak’s $12 million financial commitment, the federal government will provide $4 million towards heritage restoration.

Town of Victoria Park Mayor Karen Vernon said council had worked hard since 2018 to discuss the future preservation and activation of the buildings.

“After years of community consultation, it was very important to secure a proposal that had a positive financial return for the community, a substantial investment in new facilities at no cost to the town, whilst relieving the burden on the town of paying for ongoing maintenance for the buildings,” Ms Vernon said.

In a previous life the heritage buildings were home to a maternity hospital and various healthcare services.

Part of the redevelopment will also include creating herb and vegetable gardens, with food grown on site to be available through a local produce store and within the precinct’s eateries.

“The Edward Millen Precinct is a unique and much-loved part of the fabric of Victoria Park; we’re delighted to have been selected to bring this incredible community asset back to life and create a world-class destination for residents and visitors alike,” Blackoak managing partner Tim Mack said.

“We’ll also be seeking to create great cultural and community connections through elements such as a regular farmers market, artisanal food and craft operators and a museum space to share the history of the buildings and the surrounding area.

“We know the Town of Victoria Park has already undertaken extensive engagement on what the community would like to see as part of this precinct, and that’s a conversation we look forward to continuing. Our vision for the heritage precinct is very much aligned with the outcomes the town is seeking in terms of that community connection and respect for the rich history of the site.”

Blackoak was formed in 2020 as a partnership between WA firms Blackoak Capital and Argent Ventures, targeting development opportunities and structured property investments.

Argent Ventures is the private company of Mr Mack, a former managing director of FJM Property, the group responsible for the redevelopment of heritage projects such as the State Buildings in the Perth CBD.

The Town of Victoria Park will now seek public submissions on the lease proposal. 

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