07/10/2019 - 14:08

Special win for Stirling Capital

07/10/2019 - 14:08

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A swag of industry awards is providing a platform for Stirling Capital to demonstrate its capabilities in Perth’s challenging apartments market.

Stirling Capital’s Cirque stands out among a wave of development in Mount Pleasant. Photo: Stirling Capital

A swag of industry awards is providing a platform for Stirling Capital to demonstrate its capabilities in Perth’s challenging apartments market.

Winning the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s top prize for development in Western Australia is certainly a significant achievement, but it has proved to be just a little bit more special for apartment developer Stirling Capital.

Stirling Capital’s Cirque apartment building in Mount Pleasant was recently recognised as the UDIA’s top project for 2019, being awarded the prestigious Russel Perry Award for urban development excellence at the institute’s awards ceremony last month.

The UDIA prize follows Cirque’s architect, MJA Studio, winning the top accolade at the WA Architecture Awards in July, and its construction partner, Jaxon, being awarded the Master Builders Association’s top prize for high-density projects.

The late Mr Perry, who was instrumental in the development of Perth’s far northern suburbs, spent just more than a year as chairman of Stirling Capital prior to his retirement in early 2015, a stint that managing director Luke Reinecke said seemed longer given his influence on the company.

“Russel certainly had a very big impact on the business during the time he was there, given his background and what he had done in his past career,” Mr Reinecke told Business News.

“He had a significant influence on Stirling. He was there when we acquired the site in Mount Pleasant, all the way through the early planning stages.

“As chairman, you wouldn’t expect him to get bogged down in day-to-day decision making, but he certainly had a big impact on the business in the time he was with us.”

UDIA judges said the luxurious Cirque development set a high benchmark for multi-residential development, not just in its surrounding Canning Beach precinct but also throughout the metropolitan area.

Mr Reinecke said in the project’s early stages, however, there were significant doubts whether the developer could achieve what it had set out to do, in terms of high-end finishes, communal amenity and sustainability.

“When we started out on this journey there were a lot of people who said five-star green star was unachievable for residential and were pushing back on the City of Melville for seeking that,” he said.

“Whereas we took a different approach to it, felt it was achievable and subsequently we were the first ones to do it.

“It’s pretty rare, as far as I’m aware, for a multi-residential project to take out that award, so we’re pretty happy with it.

“Hopefully it gives us a very strong platform and an opportunity to demonstrate to prospective buyers what Stirling has to offer, what our points of difference are and what they can expect from our projects going forward.”

Perhaps the most remarkable factor in the award win, however, was the fact that the two-stage project is at its halfway point, with marketing expected to be launched for a second building early next year.

Mr Reinecke said the developer would concentrate on maintaining the same high standards for the second stage as the first, while delivering more amenity for residents.

“The two stages have been designed with a master plan view, so stage two will add about another 50 per cent to the communal facilities on offer and will complement what is already there,” Mr Reinecke said.

“One example of that is there will be a children’s playground.

“Given our primary target market is downsizers, we want spaces where it is going to be fun for people to come and visit as much as it will be fun for people to live there.”

Mr Reinecke said Stirling Capital would also apply learnings for Cirque to its upcoming pipeline of projects, which includes The Treehouse in Jolimont, where construction works recently began.

He said while Perth’s apartment market remained patchy, Stirling Capital was beginning to experience an uptick in enquiry and sales activity.

“It’s still a challenging market without a doubt, but in saying that, we have been fortunate in our projects that they have largely been able to maintain value in terms of sales prices but also in terms of valuations,” Mr Reinecke said.

“The timeframes involved for people making acquisitions is still longer than it normally was, but generally we are seeing activity starting to pick up a little.

“But I’m not brave enough to say we are seeing a significant recovery; we are cautiously optimistic for what next year will bring but there have been green shoots for a long time.”

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