Curtis, Gonski, Mordant trade Alexandria Bunnings to Charter Hall for $70m

The 1.9 hectare site at the north east corner of Gardeners and Bourke roads.

Charter Hall is paying $70 million for an outgoing Bunnings outlet on 1.9 hectares near Sydney Airport with plans to repurpose it as a logistics investment.

The Alexandria site, 520-530 Gardeners Road, on the north east corner of Bourke, will be held by Core Logistics Partnership.

It was offloaded by prominent businessmen John Curtis, David Gonski and Simon Mordant’s Mordant Properties.

The sale price reflects a significant windfall – the vendors paying $16m in 2015 when the occupier’s lease expiry was considered risky (Bunnings, which no longer needs the facility, is committed until 2024).

Since owning the property, and especially after COVID, Australia’s industrial sector has performed strongly as business model changes focused on distribution over retail footprint.

Income generating land bank: Charter Hall of Alexandria property

Charter Hall describes the Alexandria/Mascot industrial and logistics precinct as tightly held and the asset as an income generating land bank.

It has negotiated a surrender package with Bunnings.

The landlord reasoned the purchase, saying it is anticipating a shortage for well-located commercial stock because of the area’s gentrification which has in recent years caused large industrial parcels to be rezoned for high density residential use.

“The [Alexandria] property provides excellent redevelopment options including the ability to develop a high-profile logistics or last mile facility under the current zoning,” according to CLP fund manager, Simon Greig.

“This acquisition is aligned with CLP’s strategy to replenish its development landbank and grow its Sydney portfolio,” he added.

“It will capitalise on strong demand for industrial and logistics facilities in the South Sydney area”.

Alexandria is about 2.5 kilometres from Sydney Airport and three times that distance to the CBD.

The address is also near St Peter’s Westconnex Interchange, set to open in 2023, linking the M4 and M5.

“South Sydney is one of the most sought-after industrial precincts in Australia given the access to major transport hubs, the Sydney CBD, port, airport and surrounding densified residential precincts” a company statement said (story continues below).

One Commercial’s Josh Charles introduced Charter Hall to 520-530 Gardeners Road.

Charter Hall now owns 60 Australian Bunnings stores

Sixty Australian Bunnings outlets are now owned by Charter Hall.

Last month, the landlord paid $353m for six of them – on behalf of its managed Long WALE Hardware Partnership.

The fund is also speculated to be giving that vendor, CBRE Global Investors Asia Pacific Bunnings Trust, $50m for an Auckland investment of this type.

Since 2006, Charter Hall has acquired Bunnings stores as part of a portfolio seven times.

Most of the properties occupy large prominent holdings; some, like Alexandria, which lend themselves to an industrial repurpose.

Industrial and logistics portfolio exceeds $11b now: Charter Hall

Charter Hall managing director and chief executive officer David Harrison said the Alexandria purchase and its relationship with Bunnings “has allowed us to access a fantastic high profile corner site with multiple development options”.

The value of industrial and logistics assets controlled by the group also now exceeds $11b, leased to more than 140 businesses, the institution added.

It owns land which could make way for another $1.5b of product, too.

CLP specifically is worth about $2b.

Its portfolio includes 38 industrial and logistics properties – 99.7pc of which is occupied, on tenancy agreements which should see 3pc per annum rent rises.

The fund’s Weighted Average Lease Expiry is 9.3 years.

The view from Bunnings Alexandria’s car park. Charter Hall said it bought the asset as a commercial development play because much of the suburb’s industrial stock has recently been replaced with high density housing. Image (and top): Google Street View.

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Marc Pallisco

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

Marc Pallisco