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Boom tipped for industrial land

DEMAND for heavy and special industrial areas will strengthen next year as the State’s resource sector picks up and new value-adding industries emerge in the agricultural sector.

In recent months, WA’s four heavy industrial estates, Kwinana, Kemerton (Bunbury), Mungari (Coolgardie) and Oakajee (Geraldton) have caught the attention of major companies that may soon choose to locate within their boundaries.

According to LandCorp Industrial Operations general manager Charles Spanjer, although LandCorp has struggled with the areas in the past, the work has now begun to pay off.

“There are several heavy industrial estates around WA and we put a lot of effort into developing and marketing them,” Mr Spanjer said.

“Heavy and special industrial areas have been a bit subdued but they will most likely pick up.

“But the time is right for overseas companies to come and invest in Australia, (and) with the Australian dollar as low as it is, it makes it cheaper.

“We also have a secure country, which is important after the events of September 11, plus a highly skilled workforce, and our industrial estates are of a high quality.”

Three of the industrial estates have proven attractive to environmentally friendly companies.

Hillcrest Resources last week announced it is about to undertake a pre-feasibility study for a $20 million waste-to-energy plant at Mungari Industrial Park, while Energy Equipment Australia is negotiating with LandCorp on a 10ha site at Kemerton Industrial Park for a waste-to-energy plant.

LandCorp also has short-listed three companies to build a windfarm at the Oakajee Industrial Estate.

Mr Spanjer identified the Burrup Peninsula in the State’s north-west as a fifth major heavy and special industrial site.

He expected rents in the general industrial market to be stable, while yields for top-quality, well-let properties would firm slightly in the coming 12 months.

Mr Spanjer identified Forestfield, Bibra Lake, Malaga and Landsdale as areas of growth, driven by the continuing expansion of commercial and quasi-retail activity into areas such as Kewdale/Welsh-pool, and more particularly

Osborne Park and Herdsman.

According to September quarter figures from the Real Estate Institute of WA, industrial property sales were three per cent higher than the same quarter last year. Osborne Park, Malaga and Wangara were the top performing suburbs.

REIWA public affairs director Lino Iacomella said Osborne Park was always a popular location because of its proximity to the city.

However, the fringe industrial suburbs of Malaga and Wangara were emerging as viable alternatives, with more space available at a lower price.

A growing road network in that region also was making the area more attractive, Mr Iacomella suggested.

Colliers Jardine industrial director Craig Robertson said demand for land in Malaga was growing, especially for smaller unit developments, which were springing up throughout the area. Blocks between 2000sqm and 4000sqm were selling from $90 to $100 per sqm.

Mr Robertson said large blocks of land in Wangara, which were selling for between $70 and $80 per sqm for 2000sqm to 4000sqm blocks, also made the suburb a viable option over traditional industrial suburbs of Kewdale and Welshpool, where vacant land was a rarity.

He said there had not been many sales of industrial properties in recent times but suggested once the resource sector picked up, increased activity in the general property market inevitably would follow.

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