02/07/2008 - 22:00

Belmont office space boost

02/07/2008 - 22:00

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Belmont is set to become the new epicentre of Perth's suburban office market, if a proposed 22,000 square metre development by industrial land developer, Nedlands-based Benchmark Properties, is approved by the city's council.

HUB: Five new office projects in Belmont are either awaiting development approval or about to commence. Photo: Grant Currall

Belmont is set to become the new epicentre of Perth's suburban office market, if a proposed 22,000 square metre development by industrial land developer, Nedlands-based Benchmark Properties, is approved by the city's council.

The project would be among the largest new suburban office developments to date, bigger than both Macquarie Bank's 18,000sqm Genesis Business Park (part of a mixed-use development in East Victoria Park) and the 12,150sqm office component of Finbar's development at the former Nutrimetics site on Albany Highway.

The Benchmark Properties site, at Lot 2 Alexander Road, on the corner of Abernethy Road, is currently vacant, but plans have been lodged to construct three office buildings and a ground floor café, plus a multi-storey car park.

Benchmark Properties' Paul Devereaux said he believed the site, bought almost three years ago, was ideally suited to an office project, being close to a local shopping centre and leisure centre.

He said the project was likely to progress regardless of whether a tenant pre-commitment was locked in, although it may proceed in a staged format.

In addition to this, several smaller office projects are getting under way along Great Eastern Highway.

Boutique developer Dome Property Group is planning a 7,000sqm, six-storey office building at 175 Great Eastern Highway, which the company plans to officially launch in about four weeks' time.

The building licence for the project, yet to be lodged, has been awarded to Pyramid Constructions.

Also on Great Eastern Highway, QUBE Property Group is preparing a development application for an office building on the old Jumbo Chinese Restaurant site.

The company plans to sell the building as strata space, marketed at about $6,250/sqm, with pre-sales to begin in July.

It will contain 4,500sqm of space across seven floors, as well as two basement levels of parking.

The project is slightly smaller than QUBE's other project in the area, on Daly Street, which is awaiting development approval for 6,500sqm of office space and a cafe.

Also pegged for construction, pending a tenant pre-commitment, is a 3,100sqm building at 193 Great Eastern Highway, to be built as part of Doric's refurbishment of an existing building on the site.

Together, these projects will make up about one third of the 100,000sqm of new stock planned for Belmont during the next few years, although none has secured an anchor tenant as yet.

Jones Lang LaSalle national director of office leasing, Warren Wright, said with tightening credit markets and rising interest rates putting pressure on developers, most tenants were waiting for construction to start before they committed to signing a lease.

"It's typical of any suburban development at the moment. The ones that have secured leases are already well under way [in terms of construction], or even nearly completed. Getting a pre-commitment is dependent on starting a project," Mr Wright said.

Meanwhile, the first building of the Perth Airport office development is almost fully leased and is on track for completion in August.

Stage two of the Alpha building will have just 700sqm of space remaining once negotiations are finalised on a lease for half the ground floor.

The latest tenant to sign on to the project is Belmont-based accounting practice McGillivray Partners, which has committed to take 1,300sqm on the first floor of the building.

The airport's leaseholder, Westralia Airports Corporation, will take half of the top floor, along with the federal government's Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Office rents for Belmont's new projects are being advertised at between $375/sqm and $445/sqm.

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