Blackstone sells Toowoomba shopping centre for $145m

JLL and Stonebridge listed Clifford Gardens with c$200m price hopes.

Blackstone has offloaded Toowoomba’s Clifford Gardens shopping centre for $145 million.

The price reflects a major drop on the $188.5m it paid Vicinity in 2016.

Elanor Funds Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of the ASX-listed Elanor Investors Group, is the buyer.

The manager will hold the property in an unlisted trust, Elanor Clifford Gardens Fund, which has been calling for investors since April 1.

An offshore institutional buyer will acquire half the available units.

Three years ago, Blackstone sold Elanor, in a then-new partnership with Heitman, the Waverley Gardens shopping complex in Melbourne’s south east Mulgrave, for $178m.

Repositioning, with healthcare and fast food

Following settlement, EFM intends to reposition Clifford Gardens with non-discretionary tenants – including healthcare businesses within 1000 square metres planned to replace part of a basement.

A click-and-collect service will be added around the Coles store.

Two standalone fast food outlets will also be constructed.

A peripheral car park – on 6680 sqm and 250 metres from the nearest shopping centre entrance – will be onsold.

Unitholders are being promised a return of 8.2 per cent in the first year, rising to 10pc in 2026.

At the north east corner of James Street and Anzac Avenue, in Newtown, the complex is about 120 kilometres from Brisbane (story continues below).

Clifford Gardens

Clifford Gardens is three kms south west of central Toowoomba.

Developed in 1982, it was last renovated 11 years ago.

On nine hectares, it contains 1600 car parks and 28,283 sqm of lettable area, with 89 tenancies.

The Weighted Average Lease Expiry (by income) is 3.9 years. The vacancy rate is 3.8pc.

Big W and Woolworths, with Coles, are the anchors; Best & Less and Terry White are mini-majors.

McDonald’s, RACQ and Telstra also rent at the centre, recognised as the precinct’s most dominant, with 3.9m annual visitors.

JLL and Stonebridge listed Clifford Gardens in 2019 – it carried price hopes of c$200m.

Based on the fully let market income at the time ($13.25m), the eventual result reflects a 9.1pc yield.

EFM puts the replacement cost at $171m.

Also this month Blackstone sold c$4.65 billion of Australian industrial assets – the bulk (worth $3.8b) to ESR, with the balance, a 90pc stake in a portfolio of 20 assets held with Fife Capital, to a Manulife/PGIM Real Estate partnership.

Coles and Big W are amongst Clifford Gardens’ anchors, the latter contributes 14.3pc of the income.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco