Australian Unity sells half-share of Geelong’s Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre to co-owner ISPT

Australian Unity’s Retail Property Fund has sold its half-share in the Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre, seven kilometres south west of Geelong, to co-owner, Industry Superannuation Property Trust.

The deal comes five years after Australian Unity sold the first 50 per cent stake in the complex to ISPT’s Core Fund following a major renovation.

Major institutional investors including Mirvac and Charter Hall contested for the asset according to The Australian which reported the deal to ISPT exclusively in this item.

Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre (centre) sits on a 24.9 hectare block, with 7.6 hectares of undeveloped land zoned for residential.

Marketing agent Lachlan MacGillivray, from Colliers International, described the retail asset as one of Australia’s best performing sub-regional shopping centres.

The broker wouldn’t comment on price, but Australian Unity valued its stake in the centre in May, 2017, at $140.4 million.

Upon being listed for public sale earlier this year, the asset was estimated to be worth a total of $300 million.

The enormous holding – 24.9 hectares – includes 7.6 hectares of undeveloped land zoned for residential.

The centre itself, built in 1985 and refurbished in 2014, includes 48,505 square metres of lettable area anchored by Coles, Kmart, Reading Cinema, Rebel, Target and Woolworths. An additional 140 specialty stores, including cafes and restaurants, have also been configured into the complex.

Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre, at 173-199 Pioneer Road, also offers 1955 car parks.

ISPT Core Fund manager Mark Bassett described the acquisition as “a compelling opportunity for the fund”.

It flagged the potential “to develop the site into a mixed-use precinct in future”.

“Geelong’s economy is diverse and resilient and we see real potential for sustainable growth over the long term as people take advantage of the lifestyle and commuting options available”.

Geelong, Victoria’s largest and fastest growing regional city, is about 75 kilometres south-west of the Melbourne CBD.

The Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre sale comes a month after we reported that Australian Unity took up occupancy at 271 Spring Street, in the Melbourne CBD, an office investment recently completed by ISPT.

It is well publicised that Australian retail assets worth more than $11 billion are currently on the market.

Today we reported, exclusively, that Stockland is selling the Tooronga Village complex in Melbourne’s Glen Iris to Newmark Capital for about $64 million.

Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and analyst, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

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