Hotel a tribute to Aboriginal artist
by: Arts Editor Patrick McDonald
April 09, 201211:00PM
An artist's impression of the planned boutique hotel in Walkerville.
A $106 million nine-storey boutique hotel named after Aboriginal artist Tommy Watson will open in Walkerville next year.
The Watson, due to accept guests in September 2013, will be part of the Art Series Hotel Group, which already operates three hotels named after artists John Olsen, Adam Cullen and Charles Blackman in Melbourne.
Located on the old Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure office site, the building will have between 300 and 400 apartments and rooms, and showcase works by Western Australia-born Watson in rooms and public areas.
Bordered by Walkerville Tce, Warwick St and Victoria Tce overlooking the River Torrens, The Watson will offer guests an art-inspired experience, including private tours with an in-house curator, an art channel and art library in every suite. It will also include an artist-in-residence studio.
Chief executive, property developer Will Deague, said it had built solidly in the leisure and corporate market with 85 to 95 per cent occupancy across the group.
"We always wanted to include an indigenous artist in the Art Series Hotel Group and are delighted to have such a pre-eminent indigenous artist in our fold," Mr Deague said.
Tommy Watson is one of Australia's most collectable indigenous artists. A senior Pitjantjatjara elder, he was born around 1935 at Anamarapiti in WA
AdelaideNow wrote:Work begins on Watson Apartments and Hotel at former Transport Dept site at Walkerville
February 15, 2013 4:44PM
MELBOURNE-based property developer Asian Pacific Group has officially commenced its $120 million transformation of the former Transport Department site at Walkerville.
The Watson Apartments and Hotel forms part of Asian Pacific's Art Series Hotel Group, which already operates the Olsen, Cullen and Blackman hotels in Melbourne.
It is the group's first project outside of Melbourne - featuring 210 apartments and 30 hotel rooms. Around 150 jobs will be created during construction and a further 60-to-70 ongoing positions will be established once the hotel begins operating.
Asian Pacific founder David Deague said the State Government's 30-year plan and a capacity for higher-density development offered developers a range of opportunities across Adelaide.
"We think there's a demand for higher density living on the city fringe as long as it's well-priced, high quality and in line with the aspirations and lifestyle of local buyers," he said.
"This is what we've aimed to create at The Watson."
Mr Deague said 90 per cent of the apartments would be priced between $270,000 and $400,000, while one penthouse level would offer apartments priced from $1.2 million.
Restaurants, a commercial business centre, an artist-in-residence studio, pool, health and recreational facilities will also feature in the complex.
Each Art Series Hotel pays tribute to a prominent Australian artist - The Watson named after Pitjantjatjara elder and artist Tommy Watson.
The apartments will go on sale to the public next month and are due to open in April next year.
Dvious wrote:Looks to be quite nice. Could look very bland though in person though, waiting to see the outcome.
Michael Klim to design the pool and deck area of Watson Apartments
March 14, 201311:30PM
OLYMPIC gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Klim will dive into a project of a different kind when he helps design the pool and deck area of the Watson Apartments and Hotel development at Walkerville.
To be built on level two of the redevelopment of the former Department of Transport building on Walkerville Tce, the 25m-long pool will form part of the project's strong focus on fitness.
Klim - who owns an apartment in The Watson's sister hotel, The Olsen, in Melbourne - said the Walkerville pool's design was almost finalised and he couldn't wait to swim the first lap.
Construction begins on Watson Apartments art project at Walkerville
March 18, 2013 12:03PM
EMBARKING on a $120 million residential development in the current economic environment may seem a gutsy move, but it's the sort of challenge Will Deague thrives on.
As chief executive of Melbourne-based Asian Pacific Group (APG), he heads the Deague family's $500 million Art Series Hotels business, including the company's latest project - the Watson Apartments at Walkerville.
Construction has begun at the former Transport Department site on the fifth-generation property developer's first Art Series project outside Melbourne.
Early signs are the move has paid off.
More than 1000 registered buyers have signalled interest and more than 300 people turned out at last week's VIP viewing before the public release on Saturday.
"We like taking on difficult buildings," Mr Deague said.
"We've done a number of extensive retrofits or renovations where they've been difficult buildings that other people haven't looked at. Plenty of asbestos, plenty of demolition required, and I guess it does create a bit of a vision.
"If you look at the Art Series, we built three hotels in the middle of the GFC when no one else was building - all within 2km of one another, with no take-out at the other end - and people thought we were nuts.
"But we had confidence in the market, we had confidence in the Australian economy."
The Cullen, the Olsen and the Blackman have all gone on to great success, based on a strategy of seasonally repositioning the mix of hotel and residential accommodation.
The Watson will initially comprise 210 fully furnished apartments and 30 hotel rooms. Residents will have full access to the hotel facilities, including bicycles and Smart Cars that will be available for hire.
"We think we're ahead of the market. We were the first to do strata car parks in Melbourne, the first to do strata office space," Mr Deague said.
"We don't rely on bank funding and therefore we don't rely on pre-sales. I think with the Adelaide market being pretty sleepy for the last couple of years, it's now time."
Mr Deague is a bull in the bear market, which prompted competing developer Watersun Property to temporarily pull its 45 Park apartment project at Gilberton from the market.
Despite missing out on the State Government's CBD stamp duty concessions last year, he is confident the Watson's price point will attract investors and owner-occupiers in equal measure. About 90 per cent of the apartments are priced between $270,000 and $400,000.
The number of tradesmen on site is set to double to about 200 in the next three months as the project ramps up before an opening in May next year.
But Mr Deague is already contemplating other projects in Adelaide's residential and hotel markets, including a potential acquisition of the Epworth Building on Pirie St.
"Yeah we're looking at that - I can see a boutique hotel or some commercial office space there. It's a great spot, a beautiful building and it's got car parking, which is rare for the city.
"We've also been made aware of the Woolshed down at Port Adelaide, but that would be a long-term sort of thing. I'm not sure about commercial here. We don't like the big 10,000sq m tenants - if we did a commercial office building here we'd like to have 150 to 500sq m tenancies."
Walkerville apartment complex The Watson 80 per cent sold
City North Messenger March 26, 2013
BUYERS have been quick to snap up apartments at Walkerville's The Watson development, with 80 per cent already sold.
More than 160 of the 210 apartments worth $63.2 million have sold since sales opened earlier this month.
The Watson named after renowned indigenous artist Tommy Watson is a luxury nine-storey apartment and hotel complex in the heart of Walkerville, on the old Transport SA site.
It includes restaurants, a commercial business centre, artist in residence studio, pool, gym, and access to smart cars, scooters and bikes.
The Watson developer, Asian Pacific Groupchief executive Will Deague said buyers had been quick to embrace the complex and the lifestyle it offered.
"The apartments have been selling fast and the sales centre and display apartments have been a hive of activity on the weekends, with hundreds passing through the doors," Mr Deague said.
"We've also had a great response from people in the local area including residents, local businesses and the council who see the benefit of having a landmark residential and hotel development in the heart of Walkerville."
Forty-one apartments are still on the market, with one bedrooms selling from $270,000, two bedroom apartments from $360,000 and penthouse apartments from $846,000.
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