A year and half ago I sat down with Leighton’s most senior property development management to talk about Kings Square.
At the time Leighton Properties, a significant part of construction and engineering giant Leighton Holdings, had just revealed its plans to develop the former Entertainment Centre site in joint venture with Seven Group Holdings.
While Leighton had plenty of muscle nationally and had been in WA via its construction and contracting businesses, this was to be its first local foray into property development.
I was told the company was seeking both key tenants for more than $1 billion worth of buildings planned for the site and potential buyers.
Even though the WA market was strong, I thought these were big tasks and wondered how much would come to fruition.
Leighton acknowledged that Kings Square would not be a Rolls Royce location with waterfront views like on offer at Elizabeth Quay but the company’s property people thought there was demand for rooms without views that had convenience to the west end of town and the transport hub.
Less than two years later, the group has begun construction this week after securing major tenants like Shell and future owners for the buildings such as property player DEXUS and local health fund HBF, which will move into one of the finished properties.
It is a significant success story.
Let’s hope we start to see the same traction at Elizabeth Quay, otherwise it could lead people to think government is not as good at these things as the private sector.
Now that would be a revelation.