Joint-venture partners Finbar and Ventrade Australia have purchased a site in East Perth for $16 million, following a state government tender process.
Lot 101 Hay Street in East Perth comprises 5,335 square metres of development land, with frontages to Plain Street, Hay Street and De Vlamingh Avenue - it’s also 100 metres from Finbar’s Vue Tower project.
The site is home to the heritage-listed Materials Science Building on the corner of Hay Street and Plain Street, which will be refurbished and renewed as a microbrewery.
The joint-venture partners were awarded the sale by the state government, following an expression of interest campaign launched last year.
Finbar and Ventrade Australia, which have partnered previous inner-city projects, have developed a primary concept for the site, which is now being advanced for a mixed-use development featuring circa 340 residential apartments spread across two towers.
The project will also include 1,400sqm of ground-floor commercial space, for retail, food and beverage use and will be developed over two stages, with an estimated end value of $200 million.
Finbar managing director Darren Pateman said the group had tried to purchase the site many times over the past eight years.
The site was preivously awarded in 2015 to Diploma Group, which planned for a $160 million development including a supermarket within the hertiage building. Construction was expected to start in 2017, however the company collapsed in late 2016.
“This is an important acquisition that reflects Finbar’s historic and significant presence in the East Perth inner city precinct,” Mr Pateman said.
“And its timing aligns well with the recent government announcements regarding amenity upgrades to the surrounding area which includes $60 million towards funding a new public pool and other improvements to the nearby WACA ground and $50 million for the new Heirisson Island cycling and pedestrian bridge improving local connections around the Swan River.”
“The City of Perth precinct has been Finbar’s most important activity zone over the past 25 years with 3,516 apartments developed in the precinct to date, largely due to its plot ratio and generous height limits which allows us to exercise our competitive advantages.”
Development sites within the City of Perth can qualify for plot ratio bonuses when restoring heritage assets.
The contracted purchase from DevelopmentWA, the state government’s development agency, is expected to settle in December.
Finbar and Ventrade Australia intend to progress plans for the development application within the next six months.
Construction of the first tower is expected to commence by the end of 2022, creating an estimated 500 jobs during the construction.
The two groups have previously partnered on inner-city developments including Reflections, Adagio, Toccata, and Concerto.
More recently, Ventrade joined Finbar to acquire and develop 238 Adelaide Terrace in Perth into a 119-apartment project, which received development approval in July this year.
Laboratory turn microbrewery
The Materials Science Building was built in 1952 to house the industrial chemistry laboratory, part of the former state government laboratory complex.
According to Heritage Perth, the government chose this site in East Perth as the area was largely undeveloped at the time and was free from vibrations - an issue its previous home (built in 1906) on Wellington Street next to the Royal Perth Hospital suffered, causing equipment and instruments to break.
The laboratory undertook testing for both government and private enterprise, conducted scientific research and provided support services and it became the premier analytical chemistry facility in the state.
In 1986, the government announced plans to relocate the lab to a new site at Curtin University in Bentley.
That relocation process was carried out in stages until 2009.
The site has since sat vacant for 11 years and will now house the mixing of substances of a different kind; switching industrial chemicals for hops and yeast, with plans to readapt the building as a microbrewery within tower one of Finbar and Ventrade Australia's $200 million mixed-use project.
To read more about Western Australia’s heritage redevelopments, as well as those taking shape, check out the property section of the next Business News magazine, out Monday October 19.