06/12/2016 - 12:04

Telstra HQ to become student village

06/12/2016 - 12:04

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Telstra’s administrative headquarters on Stirling Street has been sold and the new owner, a private equity player from China, plans to redevelop it into a 500-bed student accommodation facility, the second such proposal for the area.

Telstra HQ to become student village
Telstra will shift out of its Stirling Street headquarters into two separate buildings in 2017. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Telstra’s administrative headquarters on Stirling Street has been sold and the new owner, a private equity player from China, plans to redevelop it into a 500-bed student accommodation facility, the second such proposal for the area.

Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners today announced it had bought the building, located at 80 Stirling Street, for an undisclosed sum.

The private equity player, which has a portfolio of commercial, retail and hospitality assets in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and South Korea, as well as in the US and UK, said it would convert the 20,000 square metre office building into student housing.

Gaw Capital was advised on the acquisition by local development firm Devwest Group.

Gaw Capital Partners investment director Felix Lai said the acquisition would allow the group to deliver a significant number of student beds in a fast, cost-effective manner.

“In many ways, this building offers more exciting opportunities than a new build and the level of support we have received from the community has been encouraging,” Mr Lai said.

“This could be the first of numerous conversions of older-style office buildings into alternative uses.”

Telstra’s lease at Stirling Street expires in 2017, with the telecommunications giant having been active for the past two years seeking new office accommodation.

Business News understands Telstra is close to finalising that search, with deals nearing completion to split its operations across two buildings.

One of those buildings is understood to be on the periphery of the CBD, while sources say Telstra will also take up sub-lease space from BHP Billiton at Brookfield Place.

The Stirling Street building’s previous owner, CorVal Investments, purchased the property in 2013 for $72.15 million.

Devwest executive director Damon Ferguson said the Stirling Street redevelopment would serve as a major contributor to the regeneration of the area, which has been a significant focal point for developers in recent years.

Following the completion of the Diploma Group-Department of Housing joint venture, One on Aberdeen in 2014, Blackburne is well under way on a $40 million apartments build on the corner of Stirling and Aberdeen streets.

Stirling Capital also has three project proposals on Stirling Street, two being major apartment developments and the other a student accommodation facility.

Marketing is under way for the apartment buildings – the $80 million, 136-apartment Verdant and the $100 million One Hundred and Eight, which will comprise a 32-storey tower containing 168 dwellings.

Stirling Capital also finalised a deal last week to deliver Perth’s first inner-city student accommodation facility, a 24-level, 571-bed tower, at 89 Stirling Street.

The developer is partnering with global student accommodation provider GSA to provide the facility.

Stirling Capital managing director Luke Reinecke said the project would provide a more attractive option for overseas students interested in studying at each of Perth’s five universities.

Construction is expected to start early next year, with the building scheduled to be complete in time for the start of the 2019 academic year.

“Quality student accommodation is essential to putting Perth on the map as an affordable and accessible education destination,” Mr Reinecke said.

“The Stirling Street location was chosen as it is an emerging urban village at the heart of the city’s cultural precinct.

“The area is highly accessible to all universities and public transport, and is within walking distance to the new museum, art gallery and an exceptional range of bars cafes, shops and restaurants.”

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