Insolvency accountants at KordaMentha are planning to put the new Raine Square tower up for sale early next year after developer Luke Saraceni yesterday failed in his legal bid to kick them out as receivers.
In what is an early favourite to be Perth's biggest commercial property sale for 2013, the Bankwest-appointed receivers are expected to put a price tag of about $500 million on the 57,000sqm office and retail complex abutting Murray, William and Wellington streets.
The way has been cleared for the sale after Supreme Court judge Michael Corboy rejected a challenge to the validity of Bankwest's security mortgages and charges over the Raine Square development company Westgem Pty Ltd, which Mr Saraceni controlled with fellow developer Hossean Pourzand.
Mr Saraceni also unsuccessfully challenged the financiers using the disputed securities in January last year to appoint KordaMentha partners as receivers to recover debts exceeding $400 million.
Justice Corboy's ruling came as Bankwest settles into the recently-completed Raine Square building as the anchor tenant and the receivers open the retail section, which will include a Coles supermarket. The 44,000sqm of office space is fully let as is the 13,000sqm retail component.
Mr Saraceni has vigorously opposed the receivership and, with the backing of litigation funder IMF (Australia), has threatened a legal action claiming more than $300 million over the bank's dealings with his companies.
KordaMentha partner Mark Mentha said the financiers would now pursue enforcement to get their cash back and claimed the developer was "avoiding reality". "I hope today's decision will bring an end to Mr Saraceni's strategy of seeking to undermine the receivers," Mr Mentha said.
Mr Saraceni warned the receivers should get high-level legal advice before trying to sell Raine Square.
"They had better think long and hard - there are some serious issues with them putting it on the market," he said.
While declining to outline these issues, Mr Saraceni said he would be filing his damages action by the middle of next month. The action was not affected by Justice Corboy's decision on what he described as a preliminary matter. "It moves to the next stage," he said.
Bankwest said in a statement that it was pleased with Justice Corboy's decision.
"Bankwest and the receivers are keen to put the distraction of these particular legal proceedings behind them so they can focus on the completion and sale of the project," it said. By the numbers $500 The total amount, in millions of dollars, that could be claimed by Raine Square's financiers.
There are some serious issues with them putting raine square on the market. "Luke Saraceni