Gaw Capital Partners Leads Acquisition of Office Property in Perth for Renovation into Student Accommodation

December 6, 2016, Perth, Australia - Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners has announced that it has purchased the Telstra Building on Stirling Street in Perth, Australia through one of the funds under its management.

Located near the city’s CBD, the eight-storey, 20,000 sqm office property is located on a 6,000 sqm site, with nearby access to a variety of public transport and lifestyle options.

Gaw Capital Partners was advised by local diversified developer DevWest Group on the deal and plans to convert the building into student accommodation for over 500 students. By the end of 2020, Australia’s undersupply of student accommodation is projected to increase by 39% to over 400,000 units as the rate of full-time higher education student growth continues to outpace the development of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) bed spaces, according to Knight Frank research. The student accommodation sector is not only good for the state economy, but also good for investors as the occupier demand is less cyclical, less volatile and less uncertain than it is within other property asset classes.

With previous experience of converting properties into student accommodation following the launch in 2015 of Campus HK, Hong Kong’s first shared accommodation created specifically for students with uniquely designed living spaces, extensive leisure facilities, affordable rents and a convenient location, Gaw Capital Partners is well positioned to renovate the Perth property.

Kenny Gaw, Managing Principal and President of Gaw Capital Partners, commented, “Education is already one of Australia’s biggest export earners and there continues to be strong growth in the number of international students arriving in the country. Perth has not focused on this growth area during previous economic cycles, but our advisor DevWest recognised the significant opportunity in the market and was one of the first market players to act.”

Felix Lai, Investment Director of Gaw Capital Partners remarked, “The acquisition means we can provide a significant number of beds in a fast, cost effective manner, whilst at the same time offering a very high level of amenities for students. 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 very encouraging. This could be the first of numerous conversions of older style office buildings into alternative uses.”

The building conversion comes at a time when Perth is undergoing rapid transformation, such as the re-emergence of the Northbridge entertainment precinct and the evolution of the Perth City Link project, which will reconnect the CBD to Northbridge in the north of the city.

“The very nature and stature of the building offers our client the ideal opportunity to bring new life to a large and prominent building in the locale,” said Damon Ferguson, Executive Director of DevWest Group. “It will certainly serve as a major contributor to the regeneration of this area."