Singleton and Harvey follow the money



This announcement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald the same day that Pru Goward granted approval for the Light Rail.

SMH 4 June 2014, Carolyn Cummings

Investors John Singleton, Gerry Harvey and Mark Carnegie have branched out of pubs with the $80 million deal to buy the leasehold of the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park, in Sydney’s east.

Gerry Harvey told BusinessDay that the potential for redevelopment was ”endless”.

”We – John Singleton, Katie Page, Mark Carnegie and I – visited it a couple of times and realised it was hard to get 11 hectares with development opportunities and its location, anywhere else in Sydney,” Mr Harvey said.

”If you accept it should be done and could be done, so we all said, why can’t it be done.”

He said it was a matter of creating a place with ambience and also involving the community.

”There is about 26,000 square metres that can be redeveloped and we will look at all options, including a hotel, pubs, serviced apartments and an updated retail sector,” Mr Harvey said.

”We would also involve the film and television school and feed of it.”

Agents had said initially the EQ site was valued at about $63 million, and it is understood the high profile businessmen beat a number of developers to the property.

The entertainment and sports precinct, near to the Sydney CBD, has now been revamped and separated from the Fox Studio film set.

However, the 11.08 hectare site still has a mix of some sound studios, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the Bent Street retail shops and the showring from its former life as the Sydney Showground.

The opportunity to upgrade the retail and entertainment area was the attraction for the buyers.

It was sold by the CFS Retail Property Trust and its associated unlisted trust, a decade after buying it from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the developer, Lend Lease.

Michael Gorman, deputy chief executive and chief investment officer at CFS said the sale of the asset was in line with the group’s strategy of divesting non-core assets.

”The sale remains conditional on the approval of the ground lessor and the relevant NSW state government consent authority,” Mr Gorman said.

Both Lend Lease and News Corp’s Fox Entertainment Group spent more than $430 million redeveloping the former Sydney Showground site.

But the failure of the much-vaunted Backlot theme park, which included the Titanic ride, led to major losses for both parties.

Lend Lease reported a write-down on the project of more than $145 million after tax and in 2002 sold its stake in the adjoining film studios to Fox Corp for $10 million.