Questions and Answers

Q. Who is contracted to purchase the Showground from the Devonport Agricultural & Pastoral Society (DAPS)?

A. Mr Ian Ugarte and Mr Simon Want are the founders of the Australian Housing Initiative (AHI). Their goal is to increase the supply of high-quality homes and foster communities throughout Tasmania and across Australia. 

AHI works with families, communities and government to improve access to quality, affordable and diversified homes.  

Their homes are built for everyone – singles, couples, families, older and younger Australians. 

Ian and Simon’s work in Tasmania over the past two years shows what they stand for.  

They have: 

  • Worked with the State Government, local Councils, industry organisations and community groups to advocate sensible, community-driven solutions to our current housing crisis.
  • Demonstrated real-world examples of these solutions with projects that include the conversion of an former warehouse into “New-York” Loft Style Apartments, “Fenton Villas”, dedicated to the provision of affordable accommodation to senior Devonport residents as well as a diversified mix of housing across the city. 

Q. What will change for the current users because of the sale?

A. In simple terms nothing will change for some time. That’s because the sale involves an extended settlement to allow for a careful and smooth transition.   

Discussions have commenced with tenants, Council and the State Government in regards to the current and future use of the Showground area. 

Q. What about the wonderful aspects of the site that we love and cherish today?

A. We completely agree that there are aspects of the site that are very special. That’s why we are working so hard with DAPS and other tenants to secure the long-term future of everything that they do.

We want to work with the community to understand what they love most about the site. To do that, we have begun to hear the stories, see the photos, read the letters, and speak to the people who have a connection to the land, the buildings and the history of the area. This will form the starting point for the future of the site.

Q. What are the long-term plans for the site?

A. The Showground site presents a significant opportunity to deliver a high-quality, mixture of homes that cater for the needs and wants of the broader community. 

Conversations with the local community have highlighted the city’s enthusiasm and desire to prosper while retaining the aspects of Devonport that makes it such a special place to live. 

Ian and Simon are grateful the people of Devonport and surrounding communities have been so willing to share their stories of the past, and their hopes for the future. 

Q. What was the purchase price of the Showground and why wasn’t it put out to tender or public sale

A. DAPS has been clear in that it was a very tough decision to sell the Showground, but ultimately they had no choice and the bank was moving in.  

While the sale price is commercial in confidence, both parties are quite open about the fact that DAPS was paid well above the market value for the property, and this has now given them the resources they need to fulfil their charter into the future.  

Ian and Simon were happy to pay this price out of respect for the history of the site, and to ensure the ongoing role many of the tenants will play in Devonport. 

Q. What kind of housing will be available once the development is complete?

A. It’s clear from the feedback received to date that this development with be community-driven.  People want to build homes and community spaces that meet their hopes and needs. 

The people of Devonport don’t want row after row of identical housing.  They want room for assisted living, and community activities and parks and gardens.  This is what Ian and Simon are committed to deliver for them.

Q. What feedback was provided in the first phase of consultation about the site?

A. Hundreds of local residents have already reached out to help with advice and support. It’s clear from the town hall meetings we’ve had, and the one on one conversations so far, that the people of Devonport want to be a part of the development.

Everyone agrees that we need to support the racing community, and work with them to find a way forward.  A transition to a new site is seen as a win-win for everyone, and we are determined to help achieve that outcome. Our initial discussions were just that, initial discussions. We are not about to stop listening. We know we need to keep the conversation going throughout the development process and beyond, if AHI is going to meet the needs of the Devonport community.

If you have any further questions, concerns or would like to register your interest please contact us via the following contact form.