Sydney fund manager in talks for Forest Hill Chase

Australia’s first Safeway, since rebranded Woolworths, was at Forest Hill Chase.

Haben and JY Group are in due diligence for Melbourne shopping centre Forest Hill Chase.

The off-market deal for the 10.25 hectare, c65,000 square metre complex at 270 Canterbury Road, on the south west corner of Mahoneys, is speculated to be worth $256.5 million, reflecting a circa-eight per cent yield.

The vendor, Blackstone, paid $265.75m in mid-2016.

Haben and JY have since 2020 owned The Pines, seven kilometres north of Forest Hill Chase.

That seller, CFS Gandel, picked it up from the developer, Maurice Alter’s Pacific Shopping Centres, for $214.5m in 2004.

JLL’s Nick Willis and Sam Hatcher are understood to be brokering the latest transaction.

Forest Hill is 18 kilometres east of the CBD.

The mall’s northern boundary is the Blackburn suburb border.

Blackstone sell-down

Established 58 years ago as a strip shopping centre – accommodating Australia’s first Safeway – Forest Hill Chase was extended into a three level enclosed complex in 1987.

It contains seven anchors – including the three major supermarkets, AMF Bowling and a Hoyts Cinema.

There are also 10 mini-majors, c200 specialty stores and 3088 car parks.

Blackstone renovated between 2017-2019 including repurposing parts of ex-JB Hi Fi and Rebel tenancies into a food court (story continues below).

Blackstone recently sold Brisbane’s Strathpine Centre for $257 million.

Any disposal comes just over a year since the US fund manager sold Wollongong’s Warrawong Plaza, for $136.25m reflecting a 7.75pc market yield, Brisbane’s Strathpine Centre ($257m) and Toowoomba’s Clifford Gardens ($145m).

Haben and JY Group last year paid $225 million for Narre Warren’s Casey Central.

The group is also seeking over $400m from north east Melbourne’s Greensborough Plaza, which hit the market in March.

If that trades, Blackstone will hold just one major Australian retail asset – Top Ryde, in Sydney’s north west – however, sources say, that might also be available, off-market.

Eight months ago, the investment house, with Brookfield banked $2.1 billion from Charter Hall and GIC for a half stake in Melbourne’s Southern Cross office complex.

Haben bulks up

Sydney based Haben, directed by father and son Harold and Ben Finger, and JY, are expected to refurbish Forest Hill Chase.

The square site, also bound by Bennett St and Pacific Way, is zoned Commercial 1 – meaning the airspace could be considered for, amongst other things, residential, offices, a hotel or essential services, like a medical centre or childcare.

Any acquisition comes 16 months since the partnership picked up Narre Warren’s 10.6ha Casey Central from M&G Investments, for $225.018m.

In 2020, the pair snapped up Doncaster East’s The Pines, from Stockland, for $153m.

Haben controls a retail portfolio worth over $1.7b. Separate to its JY partnership, it recently acquired three small Queensland shopping centres, including in March, Brisbane’s Station Oxley.

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Marc Pallisco

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