Gloucester Park Harness Racing (GPHR) has unveiled its plans for the revitalization of iconic and heritage-listed Gloucester Park as Australia’s premier harness racing hub, as well as its integration into the wider communities of East Perth and Perth.
GPHR has begun a formal process to seek the support and permission of its members for their executive committee to finalize the sale of 5.9ha of land to leading local real estate group Hesperia, subject to detailed due diligence.
Members received a detailed briefing on the future vision for Gloucester Park, with the membership referendum starting earlier in the week.
Independent advisors from GPHR have provided the Executive Committee with a market valuation of the land, which incorporates Hesperia’s commitment to redevelop racing and heritage infrastructure at the site.
- Ensure that Gloucester Park remains the home of harness racing in WA;
- Preserve and celebrate the existing heritage assets of the sites for future generations;
- Establish various sources of revenue for a sustained financial future of GPHR; and
- Make the most of this important inner city area, linking and integrating Gloucester Park into the wider East Perth community.
If completed, the sale of the land will trigger a redevelopment that will include the Gloucester Theatre, a new tourism, hospitality and community facility located on the east side of the track near the foot of the Matagarup Bridge. The Gloucester Theater and surrounding area will seat up to 4,000 spectators and offer dual views of the track and across the Swan River to Optus Stadium. It will also provide a members-only area and member parking facilities, as well as a range of entertainment and hospitality experiences that will activate the Swan River seven days a week and provide a key tourist focal point anchoring the bridge. Matagarup.
The renovation of the existing racecourse will result in exciting and highly engaging races, a rejuvenated experience for drivers, trainers and owners, and further improvements in animal welfare. The stables and parade ring will be moved to the east side of the course, giving Gloucester Park the most modern harness racing infrastructure in Australia.
Maintaining the rich history of harness racing is essential to realizing the vision of Totalizator Square, a host village neighborhood and future town center located next to the iconic heritage-listed entrance gates and scoreboard original. Several heritage buildings will be redeveloped for public use, and together Gloucester Theater and Totalizator Square will attract a new generation of people to the eastern end of the CBD, enhancing visitation and providing new, alternative long-term revenue streams for Gloucester Park as well as the creation of a new neighborhood center for East Perth.
Michael Radley, CEO of GPHR, said the proposal represents an exciting path forward for the club, its members and the wider local harness industry.
“While I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of our members’ vote, we are very excited about our future vision for Gloucester Park. This will provide a huge benefit to members and everyone involved in the harness racing industry whether as a trainer, owner or spectator.
“It is no secret that attendance at Gloucester Park has declined in recent years, and we have had to work hard to ensure we have the funds to keep the track and facilities in the required condition, without talk about preserving and adapting all heritage structures on place.”
“The vision we have presented to our members addresses all of our urgent infrastructure needs, preserves our rich heritage and, most importantly, provides new facilities and diversified long-term revenue streams to ensure that races harnessed remain at Gloucester Park.”
Importantly, under its agreement with Hesperia, harness racing will continue at Gloucester Park throughout the multi-year development period, allowing the harness industry to continue its regular and signature racing at the same location.
Hesperia is well known for its heritage restoration projects including the State Buildings and Como The Treasury, Leederville Hotel Precinct, Victoria House and the recent acquisition of the Wool Stores in Fremantle. Hesperia recently announced the expansion of its heritage development consultancy services to support the continued adaptive reuse of Perth’s unique built heritage.
The underutilized areas of land on the west side of the property, which currently include existing stands, spectator areas and other structures, will form part of a future mixed-use vision for the venue. Hesperia’s long-term vision is to create a vibrant new community, linking the Gloucester Park area to other redevelopments in East Perth, ultimately creating an intra-urban lifestyle corridor that connects to the CBD of Perth.
Hesperia director Kyle Jeayants said the company’s track record of sensitive and complex heritage restorations as well as its deep expertise in built forms meant their team was in a unique position to help the GPHR develop a commercially feasible vision for the site, given the many challenges associated with integrating race and heritage works.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Gloucester Park and Hesperia. We believe the vision we have collaborated on will bring real long-term benefits to members and the harness racing industry as a whole, while reinvigorating underutilized land and the entire precinct.
“The East Perth Corridor has long been referred to as the gateway to the city, connecting Optus Stadium and the Burswood Peninsula to the rest of Perth’s CBD. The proposal we are proposing will provide a connected and vibrant community in Perth’s east end and make a significant contribution to the city and to tourism in Western Australia.
Members wishing to obtain further information on the proposal can contact the Gloucester Park administration directly.