25/09/2007 - 22:00

New marinas a bonus for boaties

25/09/2007 - 22:00

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The ‘seachange’ phenomenon and unprecedented growth in recreational boat registrations in Western Australia are being met with increased marina development activity up and down the coast.

New marinas a bonus for boaties

The ‘seachange’ phenomenon and unprecedented growth in recreational boat registrations in Western Australia are being met with increased marina development activity up and down the coast.

State government developer, LandCorp, and a number of private developers are gearing up to meet the rising demand for boat pens and waterfront housing.

Perth’s iconic Hillarys marina is considered an instructive model for developers, while the relatively new 60-hectare Mandurah Ocean Marina is regarded as a world-class project.

The largest of the marina developments under construction is Australand’s high-profile Port Coogee Marina, comprising 300 pens, more than 1,000 residential apartments and significant commercial and retail space.

A further 53 residential berths and 600 dry land lots will be created, to be released to the market over the next two years.

Also under way is LandCorp’s mixed-use Bunbury Marina and inlet redevelopment project, featuring 400 pens, a five-star hotel and 13ha of retail and commercial development planned for the Leschenault Inlet foreshore.

Albany is also on LandCorp’s agenda, with the development of a 161-pen non-residential marina on the harbour to start next year subject to environmental clearances.

Hegney Property Group executive chairman Gavin Hegney said marinas were in a unique property category in WA, which meant they provided a formula for significant price growth.

He said it didn’t matter where the new marinas were situated along the coast, as they would be highly sought after by an increasingly mobile baby boomer demographic.

 “WA has an ageing population which is cashed up and looking for lifestyle and a place to put their toys. These people are far more mobile than ever before because of technology and communication advances, and are willing to move,” Mr Hegney told WA Business News.

He said Coogee Marina had huge potential, particularly because of its proximity to Rottnest Island and the sheltered boating passage to it, off Garden Island.

Australand started the Port Coogee planning process more than 10 years ago, and has experienced its fair share of controversy over that time, including public protests and the recent Corruption and Crime Commi-ssion hearings.

Australand general man-ager WA, Vin-cent Wee, said the Port Coogee project was a significant resi-den-tial development for the group.

“We will sell the housing lots off over the next two years before selling 100 apartments per year for probably the next 10 years,” he said.

“If an opportunity came up in WA to build another marina we would definitely look at it. But, depending on the location, it’s a very long process to go through because it has to be structured over time to put the plan through. One cannot commit too much resource or financial resource to one project.”

While work continues on Port Coogee, several marina developments are waiting in the wings.

Developer Port Bouvard Ltd is awaiting the green light from the Department of Environment to progress its residential canal and small marina development in Esperance.

In Rockingham, the state government has earmarked the Mangles Bay Marina to almost double its capacity of boat pens to 450 over the next 10 years, along with the development of additional tourism and commercial facilities.

North of Perth, The City of Joondalup is poised to launch a plan for a 250-pen marina and associated restaurant, retail and marine facilities at Ocean Reef.

The city owns 24ha out of a total 46ha of oceanfront land and has formed a steering committee with LandCorp to progress the project.

LandCorp general manager operations, Mike Maloney, said the developer would be replicating its methodology and approach to the Mandurah Ocean Marina with the Ocean Reef project, by ensuring the community was involved at every step of the planning and development process.

“The secret of the Mandurah marina was that is was driven by the local community. It has really hit the mark on all our triple-bottom line objectives by creating employment, a mix of residential, commercial and retail uses, and more importantly, a tourism and community asset,” he said.

“We didn’t want this to be just another residential enclave.”

Mr Maloney said the marina, which was managed by the City of Mandurah, had enabled Mandurah day trippers to become overnight guests with a good mix of accommodation types, including the 4.5 Star Seashells Resort and low-cost chalets.

Major environmental challenges of the 30-year project included the disposal of waste material illegally dumped into the harbour, and the potential contamination of the Mandurah Estuary.

LandCorp is also keen to service the needs of Perth’s growing northern suburbs, with marina village developments for Eglington and Alkimos in the conceptual stages.

Alkimos is expected to provide about 40 per cent of the land required in Perth’s north-west metropolitan corridor over the next 25 years, and house about 60,000 people.

Both marina communities will ultimately be serviced by an extension of Marmion Avenue and three passenger train stations, starting with the development of the Alkimos station, expected to come online in the next decade.

Mr Hegney said the marinas would give towns such as Albany and Bunbury a new dimension.

Meanwhile, there’s also activity in the state’s north-west. LandCorp’s Exmouth Marina Village has been simmering away since the late 1980s, with a small number of super lots carved off and sold to private developers in recent years.

Among those active in the area is Perth-based investment and development player Lester Group, which has launched its Exmouth Keys project, to feature 130 canal lots and several residential moorings next to a planned mixed-use commercial and retail precinct.

Lester Group chief executive Dick Lester said the general wealth and liquidity in the community was moving towards lifestyle and leisure choices in property.

“Water adds value, and canals and private moorings are all part of that,” he said.

“Our project will create 150 households in Exmouth, which will contribute to that community enormously; we’re having a stabilising influence and that transient population will start to settle.”

Mr Maloney said LandCorp would launch a campaign later this year for expressions of interest in a new superlot joint venture development.

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