01/02/2016 - 06:01

Domino effect in HQ moves

01/02/2016 - 06:01

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An intriguing institutional form of musical chairs took place last year involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, the Freemasons’ state branch, and union United Voice.

Domino effect in HQ moves
NEW LODGINGS: The Freemasons bought its new WA administrative centre in Subiaco from union United Voice. Photo: Attila Csaszar

An intriguing institutional form of musical chairs took place last year involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, the Freemasons’ state branch, and union United Voice.

The process appears to have been started when the Western Australian branch of United Voice, formerly known as the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, sold its headquarters, a prominent office block on Thomas Street in Subiaco, for $5.8 million.

The branch’s annual report shows net gains from the sale of land and buildings for 2014-15 were $4.5 million. The report shows the only non-current asset held for sale that was sold during that year was the 61 Thomas Street site, which had a book value of $1 million.

The Grand Lodge of WA, the Freemasons state branch, has revealed in its annual report that it purchased 50 per cent of the building for $2.9 million. It moved in late last year, along with its aged care and retirement village associate Masonic Care WA, which bought the other half share.

Around the same time, the Grand Lodge sold its previous CBD headquarters, a two-storey, 1,300 square metre office at 249 Adelaide Terrace, to the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth to serve as the new operational and administrative headquarters for the Archbishop of Perth.

According to Cityscope, the sale price was $6.5 million, which is about 6.5 per cent lower than the almost $7 million reportedly paid by the lodge in 2009.

The purchase allowed the archbishop’s office and church’s Perth administration to be combined from various locations within the CBD and Northbridge.

The Freemasons had famously sold its prominent headquarters on Terrace Road opposite Langley Park to property developer Finbar Group in 2001 for more than $8.1 million. Built in 1967 in a style befitting the brutalist architecture of the time, the building was demolished in 2002 and the site is now occupied by an 18-storey apartment building called The Westralian.

The proceeds from the Thomas Street sale allowed United Voice to restructure its debts. Not only did it reduce total liabilities to $6.2 million from almost $11.9 million, but a $9.4 million loan against its current headquarters building at 54 Cheriton Street, Perth, has dropped to $3.8 million.

The Cheriton Street address represents the union’s biggest asset, with a book value of $8.8 million.

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