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Stadium deal suits Multiplex

THE Multiplex Consortium stands to make as much as $6.3 million from the Wellington Street soccer stadium, without having to turn a piece of soil.

Despite the abandonment of the multi-purpose sports stadium because Perth Glory pulled out of the deal, the consortium remains in control of Perth Entertainment Centre forecourt, a valuable piece of CBD real estate which is likely to net a healthy profit as a carpark.

Multiplex was given control of a 2.8 hectare site bounded by the Perth to Fremantle railway line, the old Citron Street, the Perth Entertainment Centre and Wellington Street when it landed the job of building the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The stadium was to be built on the 630-bay Perth Entertainment Centre car park, which is owned by Westrail and leased by the Perth City Council.

With the 19,000-seat stadium not proceeding, the car park will remain under Government ownership.

However, Multiplex is selling a 99-year lease on the concrete forecourt leading up to the Perth Entertainment Centre for $7.5 million. That area has enough room for 300 car bays and also provides access to the rear of the PEC.

With the stadium not proceeding, Multiplex will give council $1.2 million back – cutting its take to $6.3 million.

While council has not yet signed off on the sale, it is keen to secure a long-term lease on the land.

Council chief executive officer Garry Hunt said he would be interested in negotiating council control of the existing car park.

While the Wellington Street car park is not fully utilised, there is a possibility council will exercise its option to put in the extra 300 bays soon.

The Busport car park, home to 1,200 well utilised long-term car bays, will soon be demolished to allow construction of the convention centre, creating a car parking shortage.

The completed PCEC is to have 1,500 car bays but 600 of those will be set aside for convention and exhibition visitor parking.

Multiplex also risks losing $2 million for not proceeding with the stadium. The WA Government is likely to use a $2 million penalty clause in the contract it signed with the consortium, leaving Multiplex with $4.3 million.

However, if Multiplex can prove the stadium was not financially viable – and has until the PCEC is commissioned, which will probably be late 2003, to do that – it will not have to pay the $2 million penalty.

To be viable, the stadium would need a major tenant. The obvious candidate, WA National Soccer League club Perth Glory, baulked at taking on a lease, claiming the asking price was too high.

Major Glory shareholder Nick Tana said there was “no way” he would consider taking a tenancy at the Wellington Street soccer stadium.

Instead he wants to proceed with a $12 million redevelopment of Leederville Oval. However, Mr Tana wants the Government to contribute $8 million.

The Government was going to put more than $10 million towards the Wellington Street stadium.

The only other likely tenant for the stadium would be a Perth-based rugby union side. A decision on whether the Super 12 rugby union competition will be expanded to have 14 teams, allowing an extra Australian and an additional South African side to enter the competition, is due on July 11.

If the competition is to be expanded, the Australian Rugby Union will decide where the extra Australian team will be based.

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