23/01/2007 - 22:00

Not for profit: Space shortage a challenge

23/01/2007 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Commercial players are not alone in facing a shortage of office space in the CBD as a result of the state’s economic boom, with the not-for-profit sector also struggling to deal with rising rental rates and the space squeeze.

Not for profit: Space shortage a challenge

Commercial players are not alone in facing a shortage of office space in the CBD as a result of the state’s economic boom, with the not-for-profit sector also struggling to deal with rising rental rates and the space squeeze.

 

Many organisations are feeling the effects of increased demand and volatility in the occupancy market, as corporate partners relocate and pro bono accommodation arrangements are put in jeopardy.

 

One organisation dealing with these issues is the Western Australian Community Foundation (WACF), which is now paying rent for the first time in its history.

 

The WACF is currently mid-way through moving its headquarters to a suite at 231 Adelaide Terrace, where the organisation has secured a short-term, 12-month lease with options.

 

The move was necessitated by Home Building Society’s relocation following its merger with StateWest Credit Society, with WACF having been based at Home’s premises on a pro bono basis since the not-for-profit’s inception.

 

WACF chairman Frank Cooper said it had been very difficult to secure accommodation, with the organisation spending more than six months searching for premises.

 

“The difficulty is, there are really not too many people that have any surplus accommodation. As we scouted around, we were unable to come up with alternative pro bono accommodation within the time frame,” he said.

 

Mr Cooper said WACF was facing the same issues as many for-profit organisations with regard to the expense of office space and lack of availability, and said support from the business community would help to offset the pressure.

 

“Hopefully the success that corporate Perth is enjoying will be reflected in some increased generosity,” he said.

 

The organisation is now considering joining forces with other small or early stage not-for-profit groups that are facing long-term insecurity of location, with a view to maximising efficiency and minimising overheads through sharing of resources.

 

“We are open to dealing with any other person in a similar boat. We’ve now got the opportunity with this short-term lease to explore options for next year. The reality is, as a not-for-profit, without our own permanent home we’re exposed to the market in the same way as everyone else,” Mr Cooper said.

 

“If we are going to have to continue to pay for accommodation, that is financial support we are not able to use elsewhere.”

 

Recently appointed Committee for Perth chief executive Marion Fulker told WA Business News her organisation had also found it difficult to obtain suitable accommodation.

 

The not-for-profit body has taken a temporary six-month lease at 919 Hay Street although Ms Fulker acknowledged the committee would have preferred to move to St Georges Terrace.

 

“Before I was appointed, I know that one of the directors looked at 12 options and didn’t find anything suitable,” she said.

 

Diabetes Australia (WA) also found the search for an appropriate office to be a laborious task, before eventually moving from East Perth to Subiaco in June last year.

 

The organisation purchased a 650 square metre premises on Hay St for less than $1.3 million, facilitated by a Lotterywest grant.

 

Diabetes Australia WA chief executive Liz Kerrigan Benson said last year that the group had spent two and a half years trying to obtain a location within five kilometres of the CBD.

 

Other not-for-profit organisations that may have to relocate in the longer-term include Leadership WA, which currently resides in BankWest office space.

 

The BankWest lease expires in November 2009, with the company set to move to Raine Square.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options