17/02/2011 - 00:00

Big WACA revamp tipped for August start

17/02/2011 - 00:00

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Privately owned development group Ascot Capital says it expects to begin construction on its ambitious plans to redevelop the WACA ground in August.

Big WACA revamp tipped for August start

Privately owned development group Ascot Capital says it expects to begin construction on its ambitious plans to redevelop the WACA ground in August.

The move comes a week after the owners of Belmont Park unveiled a $4 billion residential redevelopment proposal.

Ascot Capital director Greg King said the company was in the middle of putting the finishing touches on its development application for the first stage of the WACA ground redevelopment. Its lodgement was imminent.

Mr King said he did not expect to face many hurdles through the approvals process because Ascot had been working closely with the East Perth Redevelopment Authority to produce the application.

The first stage of the WACA revitalisation consists of 160 short-stay residential apartments, 90 of which will face the pitch and will convert to corporate hospitality suites on match days.

The 90 one-bedroom apartments will replace the corporate suites at the WACA ground.

The other side of the building will feature 70 two-bedroom apartments overlooking the city and Queens Gardens. A rooftop terrace will provide a poolside viewing vantage point.

Mr King said pricing for the apartments would be determined through an expression of interest program targeted at WACA members.

“We’re quite excited about the product, but really it’s going to be a question of what the market thinks,” Mr King told WA Business News.

“It’s very hard to understand where your price point is when you have a very unique product.”

The entire redevelopment will consist of four 20-storey residential and commercial towers, one 10-storey commercial block and the eight-storey residential development built within the WACA ground precinct.

The pending first-stage application has capped off a busy recent few months for Ascot Capital, which recently settled its purchase of a commercial development at 1 Havelock Street in West Perth for $30 million.

The building was sold on an initial yield of about 9 per cent through selling agent John Williams of Jones Lang La Salle.

Mr King said the property was a strong asset, with anchor tenant, geo-technical engineering firm Golder Associates, locked in until 2016. It also held additional development opportunities.

“The building is in need of an upgrade,” he said. “It’s in an A-grade location, but it needs some work to bring it up to standard.”

The Havelock Street deal was one of three recently done by Ascot Capital, which also completed two significant developments in Adelaide. Ascot has completed the refurbishment of an old warehouse in Adelaide’s Gilman and has entered into a 15-year lease with transport giants P&O.

Mr King said works to complete a substantial warehouse facility in Adelaide that drilling services and parts supplier, Boart Longyear, agreed to lease for 10 years would be completed in June.

Ascot Capital funded the acquisitions through the formation of three separate private syndicates, which it threw open to a network of private investors.

“The commercial terms are quite confidential but we got involved in that at the height of some of the issues that were occurring in the world, so I think we’ve got in at very attractive levels for our syndicates,” Mr King said.

The group would seek to establish more syndicates for investors as it ramped up its acquisition program.

“We are actively looking for acquisitions, we have got quite a strong balance sheet, and we have got quite a lot of people that are still looking to put money in with us so we are looking for acquisitions,” he said.

“But we are very selective, and in the last two years we have done three deals on that basis.

“Those two deals we did in Adelaide we did together, because they happened to be part of a package that we liked, and then Havelock Street is one that we’ve just closed on.”

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