Gaw Capital buys Telstra HQ, targets student dorm biz

Visual from company website

Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners (GCP) has acquired the former corporate headquarters of Telstra, the leading telecommunication and technology company in Australia, and plans to turn the property into a student dormitory.

The real estate private equity firm disclosed that it made the deal through one of the funds under its management.

The eight-storey, 20,000 sqm office property is located on a 6,000 sqm site, along Stirling Street in Perth, Australia. It is near the city’s central business district with nearby access to a variety of public transport and lifestyle options.

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GCP took the advise of local diversified developer DevWest Group to convert the office building into a dormitory that can accommodate more than 500 students.

DevWest Group executive director Damon Ferguson connects the Telstra building’s renovation to the ongoing rapid transformation in the city, 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.

“It will certainly serve as a major contributor to the regeneration of this area,” Ferguson said.

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GCP managing principal and president Kenny Gaw, said 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,” Gaw said.

According to Knight Frank research, by the end of 2020, Australia’s undersupply of student accommodation is projected to increase by 39 per cent 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.

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GCP ventured into converting properties into student accommodation in 2015 with 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.

Established in 2005, GCP focuses on global real estate markets, specializing in adding strategic value to under-utilized real estate through redesign and re-positioning. It has raised equity of $ 7.3 billion and commands assets of $ 12.8 billion under management as of third quarter of 2016.

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Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.