18/06/2008 - 22:00

Heritage focus for Paolucci

18/06/2008 - 22:00

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The Paolucci Group's property portfolio is one of a kind, combining heritage-listed buildings with industrial properties.

Heritage focus for Paolucci

The Paolucci Group's property portfolio is one of a kind, combining heritage-listed buildings with industrial properties.

While the group's main business is to purchase and renovate old factories in industrial areas, over the years it has accumulated a range of old buildings including two churches, a 1,000 square metre heritage-listed building on King Street and two shopping arcades.

It has also recently purchased a heritage-listed building on Pakenham Street in Fremantle.

According to chairman Ray Paolucci, the diversity of his property investments was motivated by the demands that the state's economic boom has generated over the years.

"I saw the need in the industrial sector because of the resource boom and then I saw the need to refurbish arcades and old buildings to cater for the influx of young people coming from other states and overseas," Mr Paolucci told WA Business News.

Four years ago, the veteran builder set up the property development side of his building business to focus on industrial areas close to Perth such as Welshpool and Kewdale.

"The biggest part of my business is the industrial sector, where I've been building for many years. I purchase old factories and warehouses to refurbish them," he said.

But the group rapidly developed an interest in restoring old buildings.

Since heritage listing was introduced in 1990, there has been an ongoing controversy on whether the commercial value of listed buildings was impacted, which repelled many property developers.

Mr Paolucci decided to defy the odds and invest in those older buildings, some of which have experienced a six-fold increase in value in two years.

But, he said the red tape that comes with heritage listed buildings is one of the main hurdles to making them commercially viable.

"The Heritage Council often looks at it strictly from a heritage view... but you also have to consider that these buildings have to fit within our own life to be able to work in our times of life," he said.

"You might have to change them, you might have to expand them, put clear glass on them...to make them commercially viable," he said

Mr Paolucci bought the William Street Arcade, which had been shut for 15 years, two years ago, and renovated it to commercial standards.

The arcade now has a café, a clothing shop and is waiting on council approvals for an art gallery and a small bar.

He also bought the Seasons Arcade, located at the top end of Hay Street in West Perth, and has plans to renovate.

Mr Paolucci bought the heritage-listed 90 King Street two years ago.

The then derelict building was completely renovated and is now worth six times the purchase price, according to Mr Paolucci.

Mr Paolucci also owns two heritage-listed churches, located in North Perth and Mount Lawley.

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