Blackstone has sold Wollongong’s Warrawong Plaza a year after a deal to Panthera Property Group fell through.
It has taken a major hit – banking $136.25 million, a price the buyer, Elanor Investors Group (ENN) described as below replacement cost.
Panthera was in due diligence for a speculated $160m.
Between 1960, when the complex was developed, until 1988, shortly after it sold to Westfield, Warrawong Plaza was known as Lake Market Shopping Centre.
Blackstone rebranded it after picking it up in 2015 with three other centres for a total of $783m.
The seller tried to offload it four years ago as part of a $3 billion portfolio with 10 other retail assets.
ENN is purchasing it at a 7.75 per cent fully let yield to seed the Warrawong Plaza Fund.
Also today we are reporting GPT Group has sold Haben the nearby Wollongong Central shopping centre for just over $400m.
Covering seven hectares on King Street, between Cowper St and Northcliffe Drive, Warrawong Plaza is the Illawarra region’s third biggest shopping centre (story continues below).
It contains c57,500 square metres of lettable area – with an Aldi and Coles supermarket, two discount department chains (Big W and Target), nine mini majors, including Millers and Sussan, and about 80 specialty stores.
ENN is intending to reposition it, adding a space for a full-line Woolworths.
“Following our recent acquisition of Clifford Gardens [also from Blackstone, for $145m], we are pleased to have secured another high quality retail asset located in a region with strong economic fundamentals,” according to the buyer’s chief executive, Glenn Willis.
“This investment provides a further opportunity to build on our track record of repositioning sub-regional shopping centres into strongly performing, non-discretionary focused retail assets,” he added.
ENN co-head of real estate said “the execution of the fund’s repositioning strategy will transform Warrawong Plaza into the only triple supermarket anchored shopping centre in the Wollongong region, providing a key point of difference to other retail centres in the trade area”.
Last November, the manager banked $129.5m selling Sydney’s Auburn Central to SCA Property Group.
ENN paid $68m for that asset in 2015, later replacing a 7159 sqm ex-Big W tenancy with an Aldi and Tong Li supermarket.
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