Furniture retailers swap Ballarat showroom

The Wendouree showroom replaced the Morris O’Keefe Motors car yard.

Bedshed is the latest retailer to purchase a growth-corridor property to occupy.

Owned by ASX listed Joyce Corp, the group has outlaid $3.5 million for a 1160 square metre showroom which replaced the Morris O’Keefe Motors car yard at 1331 Howitt Street, Wendouree, in Ballarat’s north west.

The vendors were the operators of another chain, Fair Price Furniture, which developed it in 2018.

E&S Trading director Rob Sinclair recently purchased an Abbotsford showroom from the landlord.

They paid $1.3m for the 2006 sqm holding near the busy corner of Gillies St two years earlier.

That business is now set to move to a bigger showroom in the area.

Retailers shop on real estate

The Bedshed deal comes a week since we reported Harvey Norman outlaid $11m for a farm next door to the Charter Hall’s Gateway Plaza Leopold, east of Geelong, with plans for a retail complex it will part occupy.

That retailer also holds homemaker centres part rented to rivals, including at Taylors Lakes’ Watergardens ($97m), Wodonga and, outside of the state, in Geraldton ($28.25m).

Last month, E&S Trading director Rob Sinclair spent $6.9m on adjoining Abbotsford properties, the biggest, a showroom he rented.

During the pandemic, Beacon Lighting struck deals with landlords to acquire a couple of showrooms – at Modbury, in Adelaide’s north east, and Perth’s Beckenham ($7.8m).

Last August, Nick Scali snapped up a prominent Keswick property (in Adelaide’s inner south) for $6.6m with plans for a major showroom (story continues below).

The Tomsic and Mathieson families acquired Ballarat’s Craig Royal Hotel in early 2020.

COVID redefined lifestyles: agent

Leedwell’s Chris Parry struck the Wendouree (and Wodonga) sale. Bedshed intends to re-fit.

“The property represents a modern showroom with prime frontage to Howitt Street, located directly opposite Harvey Norman, Plush and Snooze,” the agent added.

“[It] benefits from 15 on-site car parks, rooftop solar panels, suspended ceilings and air conditioning,” according to the executive.

Mr Parry said significant changes to the way people wanted to live came about following COVID.

“When businesses communicated to staff to not come into the city where their workplaces and daily social interactions were located, the need or desire to live in the city or near the suburbs was also questioned,” he added.

Ballarat has been a major beneficiary to the subsequent shift to regional living which took place, according to the executive.

Elsewhere in the region, SCA Property Group recently outlaid $112m for the 6.5 hectare Delacombe Town Centre, which includes a Woolworths and 35 specialty stores. In 2020, Black Rhino Group, backed by the Tomsic and Mathieson families, paid over $12m for the c1853 Craig’s Royal Hotel.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of