Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/h ... 0fb97e3e74Daily Telegraph wrote:HELEN Gerard, one of the state’s wealthiest women, is ready for the biggest challenge of her business career after approval to build a $30 million high-rise apartment tower block at Thebarton has been finally granted by state government.
Ms Gerard, a member of the high-flying Gerard family dynasty that sold the Clipsal electrical business to a French company in 2003 for $750m, told the Sunday Mail she has successfully appealed a decision of the Development Assessment Commission to knock back the 25m high eight-storey building.
The complex of 84 apartments with a ground level of coffee bars and shops is situated at 23-27 Walsh St, just off Port Road.
Issues with the initial application, rejected in July, including a lack of parking spaces, now increased by 40 spots, and a feature glass atrium, have been overcome and demolition of the current residences on three blocks will begin in June, with the build expected to take 18 months.
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https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenge ... 3e99fb8311Helen Gerard goes bankrupt on failed property development in Thebarton
Chris Russell, Sunday Mail (SA)
August 17, 2019 7:30pm
Once touted as one of the state’s wealthiest women, a member of prominent South Australian family the Gerards has declared herself bankrupt with millions of dollars in debt.
Helen Mary Gerard has been forced to sell her country home near Echunga and walk away from a $30 million apartment development at Thebarton.
Ms Gerard is the granddaughter of Alfred Gerard who founded the business which evolved into Clipsal Industries.
Clipsal was sold in 2003 to French company Schneider Electric for $750 million.
Ms Gerard has lodged a debtor’s petition for bankruptcy with debts understood to total more than $8 million and owed to more than a dozen creditors.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of pressure on me and everything just went downhill,” Ms Gerard said.
“I had to go bankrupt.
“I know people were shocked but they realise I’m trying desperately through court actions to be able to pay them back.
“I’m sure it will turn out to be good for everybody in the long run. They may not get back all of their money but they’ll get back a lot of it.
“Hopefully all the creditors will be paid. They believe in me and know in my heart I’m desperately trying to pay them all.”
Creditors are understood to include individuals, private finance providers, a disability sector entity and major banks.
Known as a generous philanthropist, especially to charities caring for vulnerable animals, Ms Gerard said failure of her planned Thebarton development led to her difficulties.
“What drained it (her finances) was Thebarton,” she said.
“It was a big gamble.
“I took out mortgages on my various properties and because I couldn’t get a bank loan because of my age I had to get private financing and, of course, the interest was really high.
“Then, when Thebarton stalled, that’s when things really went downhill.”
The development — Windamere Apartments — received development approval for an eight-storey building with 84 apartments, ground floor retail space and 78 car spaces.
However, after two years of marketing since its launch in 2017, agents acting on behalf of mortgagees in possession of the property are now attempting to sell it.
The Thebarton block — formerly the site of three houses — has been cleared but no construction work has taken place.
“There were a couple of developers who were going to come in with me but due to their own circumstances, it didn’t happen,” Ms Gerard said.
“We had a lot of interest and quite a few people put options on apartments.”
However, the project never reached the threshold required to begin construction.
The marketing material said Ms Gerard knew the area well because Clipsal had previously been located in nearby Bowden.
It said: “capital appreciation in the coming years on all residential property close to the CBD will be enormous” and that she believed SA was “on the verge of a massive re-evaluation of properties”.
The development faces onto the rear car park of Supercheap Auto on Port Rd and was advertised as “uniquely placed on a quiet road overlooking Bonython Park offering panoramic views over the parklands and city scape”.
Ms Gerard said that although Clipsal was sold for $750 million, Singapore shareholders received more than half the proceeds and the family did not receive as much as people assumed.
“There were a lot of debts and they had to be paid first,” she said.
With personal family tragedy and business problems compounding over the past few years, Ms Gerard said her family had tried to help her through the difficult times.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Known for her work with horses, Ms Gerard owned a country home set on 8 hectares of undulating, tree-lined paddocks at Chapel Hill, near Echunga.
Earlier this year, a mortgagee sale of that property reached $950,000, some $350,000 less than Ms Gerard paid for it in 2016.
Before moving to the Adelaide Hills, Ms Gerard ran a farming operation near Victor Harbor, where she also took in distressed horses.
She later co-founded horse sanctuaries — Windamere and then the Lincoln Park Horse and Human Rehabilitation Centre.
She bought a property in Monarto and renovated the homestead on the land.
“I spent quite a bit of money setting it up,” she said.
She is a life member of the registered charity but has now had to sell the Monarto property.
She also has been generous to friends.
“I’ve lent a lot of money out over the years to people who have needed it and a lot of it I’ve never got back,” she said.
“But that’s okay, I was fortunate enough to be able to do that.
“Now, of course, it’s gone the other way.”
The Advertiser spoke to Ms Gerard’s trustee in bankruptcy and several creditors.
All declined to make public comment on the matter.
The great granddaughter of settlers who arrived in SA in the 1860s, Ms Gerard said she realised there would be interest in her situation because of her family’s prominence.
“Sometimes I wish my name was just Smith,” she said.
The property had more units than car spaces, so there would be cars on the street. Those back streets get full during the day while people get the tram into the city. I don't understand why anything gets approved if it doesn't have at least one off street park per unit.
It's not going ahead now, so it's a moot point.
It's not going ahead now, so it's a moot point.
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And once again we are left with a big vacant block full of weeds. I really hope that some new rules can be implemented that only allow demolition once the new build is 110% certain. Its not a good look especially when people start dumping rubbish on these vacant blocks and the temporary fence blows over and is never fixed up.
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