PROPERTY developer Ascot Capital and the Western Australian Cricket Association have started marketing the first stage of a major residential project at the WACA ground.The submission period for expressions of interest in apartments in the project's first stage - a 10-storey, 137-apartment complex called The Gardens - closed last week, with 99 EOIs received from among the 7,500 WACA members.The development will be officially launched on November 19.The Gardens will be located on the western side of the ground next to the relocated practice nets, which will be moved to the north-west comer, the original 19th century site of the practice wickets, with a new Centre for Cricket Excellence to be built alongside.The Gardens apartments range from one-bed-room studios to three-bedroom penthouses and are priced between $540,000 and $2.7 million.Verum Project Direction is the JV’s project manager, and development director for the Ascot/ WACA project, Murray Johns, said the response from WACA members had been strong.“We were hoping to sell 25 per cent of the apartments to members but due to demand it looks like it will be over half,” he said.A soft launch for the apartments was offered exclusively to WACA members last month and a ballot was drawn last weekend, which enabled members to buy off the plan.Mr Johns said the project partners were aiming for an 80 per cent pre-commitment before construction.Depending on the success of the first stage, Verum will seek development approval for the second stage that proposes a 20-storey, 250-apartment complex to the north-west end of the site.Stage three comprises two 20-storey apartments on the south-east comer of the oval and is aiming for a 2020 completion date.Forward works on The Gardens site is scheduled for an early 2013 start, after the conclusion of the international cricket season. Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2013 with a mid-2015 completion target.Mr Johns said Jaxon Construction had been working on the project as construction adviser and was currently in negotiations with the JV partners over the terms of the construction contract.Work on the WACA redevelopment project started in 2007, but was put on hold in late 2009 due to the slump in Western Australia’s property market.However the current growth in the market - in particular strong demand for apartments - convinced the JV partners to revisit the project.The WACA redevelopment project was devised with the primary goal of securing the ground's long-term financial security.WACA chairman David Williams chairs the redevelopment committee, which includes local businessmen George Jones, Sam Gannon and Allan Rule.Meanwhile, another Ascot Capital JV, with FJM Property, is awaiting approval in Innaloo.The partners are proposing two office towers for the 2.3-hectare site, located next to the Ikea store.
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