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Revolving fund revitalises disused heritage places

More than $7 million will be invested into revitalising vacant or underutilised government-owned heritage properties, thanks to the successful sale of two major conservation projects under the Heritage Works Program: the Fremantle Warders’ Cottages and the Coogee Hotel and Post Office.

The Heritage Revolving Fund, which is managed by the Heritage Works team in the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, was established with seed funding of
$4 million over two years.

Heritage Works collaborates with State agencies and local governments to transition vacant and underutilised heritage places to new ownership through heritage conservation, adaptive reuse, feasibility planning, marketing and sales.

The 1850s convict-built Warders’ Cottages in Henderson Street, Fremantle were the first major beneficiaries of the fund.

The three sets of terrace cottages have sold or are under settlement after $3.4 million was spent on urgent conservation works, service upgrades, subdivision and pre-sale planning.

Originally valued at $730,000 for the entire group, the once derelict cottages generated considerable market interest and achieved total sales of $8.2 million.

The 1901 former Coogee Hotel and Post Office is now under offer and will net an 88 per cent return on investment following conservation works and feasibility planning.

The conservation and sale of the Fremantle Warders’ Cottages and Coogee Hotel and Post Office have netted a total return on investment well in excess of 100 per cent.

Financial returns from these sales will be returned to the Heritage Revolving Fund to restore, reactivate and dispose of more under-utilised government heritage buildings in both metropolitan and regional locations, with future projects currently in the planning phase.

In addition to the $7 million available for investment in heritage projects, the fund is helping the budget repair task, with $2 million returned to Consolidated Revenue as per the terms of the original seed funding. A substantial distribution also goes to Main Roads WA as the seller of the Coogee Hotel.