XDSI - 1. XD Ch 1
After five years of studies, I had finally graduated with a double degree with honours in Business and Law, and I was now ready to take on a new challenge. The family was once again scattered all around the world, with the twins back in Switzerland, while Sebastian and Lewis are onboard the Southern Explorer, travelling around the world.
Our newest addition to the family Louis Devereaux, is now studying at university in England, while I had decided to remain in Perth, Western Australia, as I now called it my permanent home.
With the help of Sebastian’s business staff, I now have my own company called XDSI – Xander Devonport Swiss Investments, and I have already built up quite a large portfolio of property, including the defunct luxury housing project on the Swan foreshore, between the Causeway, Hay Street and Trinity College, that is 14.8 acres in area. I also recently acquired the former Police headquarters building on the corner of Adelaide Terrace and Hay Street, which is 4.8 acres in area.
In addition, there is my castle home on the foreshore in East Fremantle, and the Stone Street property in Mosman Park, plus the entire former Leeuwin Barracks property across the road from my home, which is 25.95 acres in area, and I have bought a one level home on the South Perth Foreshore
I have also bought eight blocks of land that are the old and tired looking apartment buildings located on Terrace Road and Hill Street, at the east end of the city, overlooking Langley Park. I planned to have these buildings demolished, but I have not decided what to build there yet, only that it would probably not exceed the three levels high, which is the height of the current buildings, and they take up an area of 3.16 acres.
Finally, I had purchased a three-storey apartment block; which was built in the 1980’s, that has so much maintenance needed to be done, that the owners gave up and put it on the market. The property is right on the river, with just Mounts Bay Road separating the property from the river, and has 12 apartments, on a third of an acre of land.
Realising that working from my castle home on the East Fremantle foreshore, was not really an ideal location I put my nose down and bum up, and started working out the logistics of achieving all of my projects. What I really need to do was to find a more permanent work base for my business, where I can get other people involved, and I decided that was my first priority.
When I started looking around, I tried to find something close to the river, and not too far from home, and I was not having much luck. This was until I realised that the apartment building on Riverside Drive or the South Perth foreshore home, could be used as and administration centre once some intensive renovations were done on the apartments. With the apartments being a longer-term project, I decided to make South Perth my Office base, and I hired a remodelling company to give it a good sprucing up, before I move my office to there.
While that project was now in action, I started looking at all the other properties around the city that I own, and I started looking at the land on the causeway foreshore, and the former police headquarters, which I had inspected to see how the buildings are set up. Although the main building is a bit old, it would not be too difficult to transform the nine-storey building into a 88-suite luxury hotel, especially with all of the nearby sporting facilities.
The other building in that group is the former East Perth Police Station and Lockup, which is a three-storey building divided into two sections, on the Hay Street side of the complex, which can be transformed into 24 two-level townhouse apartments.
I was also thinking of putting in a proposal to the WA Cricket Association, which currently has plans to make huge improvements to the Cricket grounds, and I was thinking that it would be good to incorporate some of their plans and include some of my ideas for my neighbouring property.
The first thing that I wanted to do, before doing that, is to put a proposal to the East Fremantle Town Council, where in return for the purchase of the two playing fields next door to the former base I would build new sporting facilities, between the East Fremantle Junior Football Club and the East Fremantle Lacrosse Club ovals.
I would also include a two level car park, which will over double the number of parking bays from 30 to 64 parking bays, and build a 36 bay car park just below the football oval, from Jarrett Road. It took me nine days to write up the East Fremantle proposal, before checking it for errors and sending it.
I was hoping that if the proposal were accepted, then I would get the project going quickly, to gain access to the additional 10.4 acres of land, which would make the total area there including the former defence base, is just over 36.35 acres in total.
With all that land in one location, my next proposal is to Trinity College, located between the Swan River, Gloucester Park, the WACA Cricket grounds, and my purchase of the defunct building project. If I am able to convince the Catholic Boys College to swap their current college land of 11.4 acres in East Perth to my land in East Fremantle, with over triple the size of space, then I could then have a total area of 25.2 acres of foreshore land in East Perth.
This would of course all depend on the response firstly from the Town of East Fremantle Council, followed by the proposal by the Trinity College Management Board, but I was hopeful that all would go smoothly. The next thing I had to think of is what to do with 25.2 acres of very valuable land, on the river foreshore.
Originally, the development had plans to have a mixture of residential, commercial, parkland and a riverside beach, but a lot of it included building a number of high-rise buildings, which I was not very comfortable with at all.
After moving into my new administration base in South Perth, for the next few months, I was kept busy with all of the planning of my projects, which one by one fell into place.
The East Fremantle Town Council accepted my proposal, and I built the two level sports centre, which includes a roof top pavilion, change rooms, a large function room and a café, plus the two new car-parking areas, to allow for additional parking for those attending the sporting events.
Not long after that, Trinity College accepted the proposal to relocate to East Fremantle, just before they were about to put into action a modernising and expansion plan of their current buildings. Now they would have three time more space and access to the river, as I lease to them the single jetty and five bay shed, with gate access to the boat ramp to the water.
I had already completed the demolition of most of the former defence base buildings, with the exception of the front administration building plus the swimming pool and two tennis courts, which were retained, and with the newly gained two playing fields plus the two existing playing fields, the college would have plenty of sports area.
I had also decided to grant a request from the college, to help finance some of the construction of the new college buildings in East Fremantle, with the stipulation that what I pay for would be a gymnasium, and indoor sports centre, and viewing pavilion.
This would be located behind the existing administration building, which I agreed to fully renovate and modernise, and to build Music and Performing Arts Building, and the Information and Technology Building, with the rest to be paid for by the College.
When I take over ownership of the Trinity college land, I was considering keeping some of the existing buildings, which are fairly new, and closest to the river. With them being the multi-purpose building, plus the senior school learning block and the swimming pool.
I was also considering keeping the school football oval, but I had not made a final decision on that. Once major concern I have to deal with is the presence of asbestos in most of the older buildings, on the Nielson Avenue side, which would mean additional costs for demolition and safe removal.
While the construction work was in progress in East Fremantle, I had finalised plans for the former police headquarters site, which would begin with the demolition of the minor buildings in the complex and the utility buildings, but not the undercover parking area, and retaining the existing boundary wall.
Once they are completed, the two main buildings will be stripped bare, in preparation for a total renovation, and to convert them into residential space.
I had also heard back from the WACA - Western Australian Cricket Association, accepting my proposal of jointly proposing to the City of Perth for Braithwaite Street on the eastern side of the Cricket stadium, to be made into two cul-de-sac streets that will be just fifty metres long each, to assist with access to service areas only.
When that takes place and once the three light towers have been moved, this would allow room for the WA Cricket Association to extend the length of the Cricket oval by 30 metres, and to build a new end lawn area, which would place the cricket oval at the same width and length as the nearby Optus Stadium.
I would assist with the funding to build a new grandstand on the northern side, to replace the two aging grandstands and the open grandstand on the north side of the oval, dramatically increasing the capacity size from 20,000 to 52,000 spectators, and will include an underground car park.
This we hope will bring back more sports fixtures that had moved to other locations, because of the small size of the WACA ground. The proposal to the WACA, would also include them being able to use the buildings that will be retained on the Trinity site, for training purposes, as well as for functions, plus a new sports medicine and training facility, and it will include the existing college sports oval and cricket nets for training.
Where the current junior school is located will be the new location for the maintenance and grounds team buildings and equipment stores, and when the remaining old buildings have been safely demolished and removed, all of that area will be turned into recreational space, that includes retaining all existing mature trees and keeping the four tennis courts for community use.
In just three short years, most of my projects had been completed, I know owned the Trinity College site, and all of the old buildings had been removed, and the space was now fully landscaped. Trinity College was now located at their new site in East Fremantle, and they are very happy with their new facilities, and extra space.
The now extended WACA grounds with its brand new northern stadium, allows for both football and cricket matches to be held there, with the stadium including new club change rooms, umpire change rooms, plus a number of sports function rooms. Behind the east-end lawn area, there is a media centre for television and radio, which includes a number of meeting rooms and a function room, with a catering kitchen, which I had financed entirely, so I had the final decisions on its design.
Heavily disguised in the roof of the Media centre, is a private function room, with small kitchen and bathrooms, with its own private elevator and stairs, which can only be accessed by a keypad with a 6-digit code required to get into the short passage. This is followed by another keypad with a separate 6-digit code, plus a thumb print scan, to open the doors to the small foyer where the elevator and stairs are located.
The new community sports facilities in East Fremantle have been completed, and were in regular use each week. The Townhouse apartments are now completed, and have long-term lease tenants in all of them, with the former lockup section of the building made into building facilities area, for the airconditioning, pumps and a maintenance area.
At the back of the townhouse apartments, where there used to be a couple of smaller buildings, there is now a heated swimming, and I have had the open car park spaces located on the front western side of the main building, made into a landscaped garden space, for the hotel guests to enjoy.
The land known as Waterbank, on the river foreshore and next to the former Trinity College, has also been transformed. What was the Waterbank sales office, at the North-eastern end of the property, has been made into a new corporate office for my business, and is now where I do all my work from, with ten parking bays right out the front. Meanwhile the house in South Perth that was my former corporate office is currently been leased out.
The 3,000 square metres or ¾’s of an acre of space between my corporate office and the former building project, with the foot and cycle path as its boundary, I have had turned into a landscaped garden. I have also had a post and rail fence built along side the path, and the driveway all the way to the office, to make the boundary of the my corporate office space, to allow me a little separation from what will become mostly public open space.
Not only is it my personal space, but it also has a few other functions, firstly there is a 50 metre long river wall, that was built on the river edge, and hidden behind it is an underground prefabricated water tight building. This includes a large twenty-metre long and four-metre high extra strong perspex window, that allows a view of the river from underwater.
The underground building, is forty-metres long and twenty metres wide, with the roof being two metres underground, and has a central courtyard, that is thirty metres long and just two metres wide, that allows natural light into the rooms, via six glass panes.
These are cleverly hidden within a long and narrow water feature in the middle of the landscaped gardens that has native trees and shrubs around three sides and just the river on the fourth side, and two narrow lawn areas, with some garden benches on the lawn to enjoy the views.
A thirty-metre long boomerang shaped underground passage connects the Watergate building to the new underground building, with a hidden door located in the wall panel of the meeting room of my corporate office. As well as having a large conference room with underwater views of the river.
The new building also has male and female bathrooms, that include showers, a small commercial kitchen, a multi-function meeting & dining room, and also four smaller rooms at the far end, that have hidden fold out sleeper benches, with two benches on each side, and a storage cupboard at the end, with plenty of shelving, and a fold out table.
Located on each side of the new building are two underground fresh water tanks, and two - 400 litre oxygen tanks, that provide oxygen to the underground building for fifteen hours, for a total of sixteen people, if there is a need to shut off the fresh air from outside. Air vents have been cleverly hidden amongst the trees and shrubs around the boundary of the ¾’s of an acre of land, and can be automatically closed at the push of a button, or when sensors detect any hazardous air.
While all of these building projects were happening, I had managed to secure the purchase of the land on the corners of Hay and Plain Streets and Adelaide Terrace, which used to be the Government laboratories buildings, which is just over 1 ¼ acres in area, plus the smaller vacant block next door on De Vlamingh Avenue, which is a bit over ¼ of an acre in area.
I now had a plan of what the former Waterbank development will become, which will include a very spectacular building that will be a major feature to the eastern entrance to the city.
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