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PH Community’s Schofields Multi-purpose is for sale

PACC (640x443)Bayanihan News received a press release from Mrs Minerva  Santos of Philippine Australian Cultural Centre  (PACC) and the Philppine Australian Community Foundation (PACF), confirming  news that the community organisation is selling its five acre facility on 8 Grange Road, Schofields.

In 2012,  the property was heralded as a “good buy” for the  long cherished plan to  establish  a Philippine community  “club house”, which did not materialise on its first site in Rooty Hill. The Rooty Hill property was sold to fund purchase of Schofields location.

The enabling body  for the centre known as  Philippine Australian Community Foundation  (PACF) comprises of aggrupation of  founding  members, representatives of fund raising interests, not to mention  leading  members who  committed  personal  guarantees to a bank  loan involved in the purchase of the land.  At Rooty Hill,  the centre was formerly called the MPC or multipurpose  centre.

Late last year news spread that the centre, after two years, is for sale again, just like the Rooty Hill site before.

Statement from the PACF Board therefore is timely to explain its side.  The news release said further enquiries may be directed  to the email address

Drafted in  question and answer format, the main points are as follows:

Is it true that the Philippine-Australian Cultural Centre (PACC) is for sale? Why?

Yes the PACC is for sale. The decision to sell was based on the objective of becoming debt-free.

The Schofields property was purchased in 2008 at a cost of $1.1 million. In May 2012 the NSW Government rezoned land for almost 3,000 new homes in the Schofields Precinct, next to an upgraded rail line and future public transport links. The final plan released by the Government also included land for a new primary school, conservation land, and open space and recreation areas. The rezoned precinct is a just a few kilometres east of the new Sydney Business Park at Marsden Park that will integrate industrial, commercial and bulky goods uses including IKEA, Costco and Bunnings and providing an estimated 10,000 jobs.

Consequently, land in Schofields has risen in market value as developers began showing keen interest in acquiring land for development.

The objective of becoming debt-free is underpinned by the plan to take advantage of a booming market, sell the property at a profit, and afterwards buy another but smaller property with the profit.

Who made the decision to sell?

The Board of Trustees of the Philippine-Australian Community Foundation Inc (PACF) convened on Saturday 31st January 2015 and unanimously passed a resolution authorising the chairman Mansueto Villon to negotiate on behalf of the PACF to sell the property for not less than $2 million but that final approval for a sale will rest with the board. The meeting was attended by Mansueto Villon (chairman), Minerva Santos (secretary), Jimmy Lopez (treasurer), Jose Elizes, Larry Muldong, Cen Amores, Jhun Salazar, Alric Bulseco sitting in for Jose Relunia (ex-officio Board member representing PCC) and Ruben Amores (ex-officio Board member representing APCO). CEO Luz Tiqui who was on holidays overseas and board member Cosme Purugganan who had work commitments were not present at the meeting. The quorum required for the meeting was eight members.

If the decision to sell was made only on 31st January, how is it that the property has been listed with the real estate agent since late last year?

The property has been on open listing with LJ Hooker Riverstone for $2,490,000 since October 2014 as a feeler for market interest and value. At the time, the board was in agreement that PACF should retain the property if possible but if the opportunity presents itself, then sell. There are two interested parties at the moment.

What happens to the funds generated from a sale?

The net proceeds of sale would go into a Trust fund initially until a suitable property is purchased. The board has outlined the requirements for a suitable property to purchase but there will be a community consultation before a final decision is made.

The aim in this undertaking is for PACF to become debt-free. Should a sale eventuate for say $2 million, approximately $900,000 will be used to pay for the outstanding debts and approximately $1.1 million will be left available to purchase a new property. 

How much are the outstanding debts and to whom?

The main creditor is St George Bank. There are smaller loans with individuals. The loan with St George Bank which carries an interest of 6% was successfully refinanced in June 2014 from Stacks Finance which charged 10% interest. The loans with individuals who have requested to remain anonymous are paid interest at bank rates.

What happens to grants received from the NSW Government? Are these required to be returned?

Over four years from 1995 to 1998, a total of $110,000 in grant funding was received from the NSW Government. These grant funds were able to cover part of the construction costs, maintenance costs and loan repayments for the first Multi-Purpose Centre in Rooty Hill. A further $34,000 was received in 2012 for the installation of a covered court at the Schofields property. PACF had in good faith used all grant funding for purposes they were intended, all of them were projects that have added value to the PACC. PACF is not aware of any conditions that would require the return of grant funds that have been properly spent, audited and acquitted.

Would members of the community who donated get a refund of their contributions if they request it?

PACF is not in a position to refund any donations. Donations from community members have been solicited to help service the loans for both the MPC and the PACC, support a variety of programs and activities at the Centre, and maintain the Centre and its vast grounds. All donations are expended and accounted for. The PACF board is very thankful for continuing community support and has over the years tried to show its appreciation through organising award and information lunches, presenting certificates of appreciation and sending regular update letters.