Acumentis the new name for Landmark White

Valuation and advisory firm Landmark White has rebranded as Acumentis. The new name is derived from two Latin words, it described: acumen, meaning insight and sharpness; and mentis, which involves having sound mind, memory and understanding. Australia’s only independent, locally-owned, ASX-listed valuation company – Acumentis had a horrible year, with two data breaches resulting in

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Bardot enters voluntary administration; ex-customers criticise over-priced new ranges

Women’s fashion brand Bardot, which is headquartered in a historic Abbotsford warehouse on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River, has entered voluntary administration. The clothes maker and retailer employs about 800 staff and trades from 72 Australian stores. Its competitors include local outfits Witchery, Sportsgirl and Country Road – as well as international brands, H&M

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World’s first KFC drive-thru ‘only’ opens in Australia – bringing back the ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ brand

The world’s first KFC drive-thru only restaurant opened in the New South Wales regional town of Newcastle on Wednesday. Built on a site the business owns at 80 Lambton Road, Broadmeadow, the concept store is branded Kentucky Fried Chicken. This represents a marketing back-flip: the fast food chain renamed itself KFC globally about 30 years

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ESR and China Merchants Capital create $350 million Australian logistics investment arm

ESR Cayman Limited (ESR) has announced a deal with China Merchants Capital Investments Co Ltd (CMC) to seed a $350 million real estate platform focused on developing and owning Australian logistics investments. The new mandate will be known as the ESR Australia Logistics Trust (EALT). Hong Kong-headquartered ESR will half-fund EALT, using its existing balance

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Brisbane, Melbourne childcare centres set to smash national records

A Brisbane childcare centre investment listed this month could be the most expensive sold in Australia – smashing the record set last year for a Sydney centre, by some $14 million. The Bowen Hills complex, three kilometres north east of the Queensland capital, is expected to trade for more than $35 million. It forms part

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Offshore Funds Cash up For Australian Farming Assets

INVESTORS from the United Kingdom are planning a $400 million fund to invest in cotton and wheat properties in eastern Australia.

To be known as Southern Agricultural Resources, and with Derek Shaw as a non executive director, the fund has reportedly identified for purchase 24 properties covering over 100,000 hectares in New South Wales and Queensland.

The fund has “been quietly shuffled around investment circles in the UK and USA” according to the AFR.

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Abigroup Wins Department of Defence Contract

LEND Lease arm Abigroup has won a major government contract.

Details of a media statement released today is below:

Abigroup has won a national Defence contract to prepare RAAF airbases around Australia to receive the air force’s next generation of fighter jets.

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NIMBYs Might Win Fight Against Major Brunswick Proposal, Melbourne

THE Moreland City Council and developers are battling against the clock to get a contentious Brunswick project out of the ground before mid-2012, when the permit expires, and resident concerns regarding the proposal must then be heard.

The 284 – 294 Albert Street block was the subject of a dispute last June when Brisbane-based owner Citimark proposed a $100 million apartment compound with three towers rising between 10 and 14-levels (impression, right).

Citimark relied on a development overlay introduced in 1994 and specifically for the construction of a supermarket, next door, to bypass third-party appeal rights for its major proposal.

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Move Over Simcity, New Internet-Based Property Development Game Arrives

REAL estate hobbyists will be able to play the part of a property entrepreneur, as part of a new internet-based computer game set to hit the market soon.

Property Mogul will allow players to acquire, sell and manage properties to build a portfolio. Players start with $1 million, and can utilize real estate agent help to advice on game based purchasers. Agents will be represented with an online avatar.

“Property Mogul is an entertaining and interactive game where players buy, sell and manage real estate, allowing them to apply real life principles to achieve virtual property tycoon status,” said Century 21 Australia chairman and owner Charles Tarbey. The agency has developed the game with Engaging Communications.

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Charter Hall Disposes of $34.65 Million in Assets

CHARTER Hall today announced its Diversified Property Fund (DPF) has contracted to sell Spinifex House at 46 – 50 Kings Park Road (pictured, right), West Perth to a private syndicator for $28.25 million, or $6900 per square metre.

The sale price reflects a premium price of 6.3 per cent to the assets June 30, 2011 value.

Charter Hall has also sold a smaller office building at 22 – 28 Compark Circuit, in the south-east Melbourne suburb of Mulgrave. This asset sold for $6.4 million to an owner occupier.

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Google Updates its Australian Street View Images

ONLINE real estate voyeurs may notice Australia’s capital cities looking greener, cleaner and generally more attractive.

After some 18 months touring roads in cars with roof-mounted cameras, and then blurring the scenes it recorded for privacy, internet-based business Google this week replaced much of the Australian imagery it uses for its Maps and Street View technologies (a UK Google Street image capturing a drunk man, pictured, right).

Google’s much anticipated upgrade – the first major improvement to the Street View service introduced here in August 2008 – affects capital cities, coast and country towns.

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Land Sales Plummeting: HIA, RP Data

LAND sales have plummeted over 40 per cent, nationally, according to new research issued by the Housing Industry Association.

The group expects the residential construction sector to “remain in the doldrums” until at least December. It describes 2011 as the worst stretch for land sales in about a decade.

A joint report by RP Data and HIA, and reported in the AFR, found the number of residential land sales had dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter in March 2011.

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ABS Figures Show First Home Buyer Market Collapsing

NEW figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 60,000 fewer first home buyers entered the mortgage market for the year to May.

This reflects a drop of 5000 loans a month, and comes despite the low interest rate environment.

The ABS says rising costs of living, and interest rates, are factors negatively affecting sentiment in the market.

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Ritziest Suburbs Fall Hardest Since GFC Peak: RP Data-Rismark

AFTER what has been a largely bleak economic backdrop, the country’s most affordable suburbs are performing better than its ritziest.

According to research group RP Data-Rismark, exclusive suburbs including Mosman Park in Perth and Hunters Hill in Sydney (pictured, right) have reported drastic median price drops of more than 30 per cent since “the peak”, which it deems to be August 2008 (about six months after when many agents say the downturn started in the large Sydney and Melbourne markets).

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Coalition Leads Investigation Into Recent Offshore Farm Investment

TONY Abbott is leading an investigation into foreign ownership of Australian property particularly farms), after a wave of complaints from agents and farmers that the current rules for offshore investors is resulting in much of the country being sold unbeknownst to the Foreign Investment Review Board.

The federal coalition announced the decision on Thursday (June 20) after calls from the Liberals, Nationals and the Greens for new rules to curb farm purchasers by offshore investors.

The Australian newspaper has recently reported a swag of foreign investors quietly snapping up major Australian properties. Buyers include China’s largest coal producer Shenhua and the Qatar  government.

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Occupancy Levels Dip Across Most Australian States: ABS

NATURAL disasters in key markets, a strong $A encouraging Australians to travel overseas, and prospective visitors seeking cheaper destinations, have contributed to a slowdown in the country’s tourist accommodation sector.

According to new research issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, occupancy in the hotel, motel and serviced apartment sector has dropped in many states, with the lowest rate (51.8 per cent) reported in the Northern Territory.

Tasmania performed best with an occupancy rate of 72.5 per cent in the March quarter. It was followed by the ACT (70.4 per cent) and NSW (67.8 per cent).

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Stockland Pays $22 Million For Three Retirement Villages

STOCKLAND has paid $22 million for three retirement villages.

The complexes were offloaded by Retirement Villages Group (RVG)), a struggling unlisted retirement fund run by the FKP Property Group and Macquarie Bank.

The portfolio acquisition adds 376 to the number of independent units offered by Stockland. Combined with serviced apartments, it now manages a total of 7403 dwellings.

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Major Industrial Leases Signed: Perth, Sydney, Melbourne

THREE major industrial deals have been signed in major Australian cities.

In Perth, K-Craft Builders has agreed to lease 1800 square metres of space previously leased to Alloy Haulage, at 36 Banksia Street in Welshpool. The lease was struck at a gross face rent (pre incentives) of about $93 per square metre.

K-Craft has been headquartered at Welshpool for 30 years, and is expanding. Colliers International brokered the deal.

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Record Number of New Zealanders Move to Australia in May: Statistics NZ

A RECORD number of New Zealanders are moving to Australia.

According to Statistics New Zealand, 3300 New Zealanders moved to Australia in May – and that figure is net (meaning it cancels out those who are relocating the other way).

The Christchurch earthquakes and aftershocks, as well as a weak economy, is driving the trend. Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and did have a population of 300,000.


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