Woolworths buys, sells retail assets

Woolworths has anchored Niddrie Central – actually in Essendon – since it was built.

Woolworths has quietly bought a Melbourne shopping centre it anchors for some 45 per cent more than the landlord was seeking during a public campaign five years ago.

The shopping centre sits over a car park.

Niddrie Central – actually in the more prestigious suburb of Essendon – was sold for $51 million by investor Con Angelatos, who also developed it, replacing an ex-Ansett workshop and Denny’s restaurant acquired from receivers in the 1991 recession.

MarketPlace Fresh’s owner bought the ex-Boundy’s on Keilor Road in 2022.

Completed two years later, it contains 5112 square metres over a floor, with 14 specialty stores.

Woolworths, which has always been the anchor, is longer term expected to reconfigure the centre, which sits over a car park.

Mr Angelatos, in his mid-80s, holds other retail assets including a Woolworths in Queensland’s Maryborough which cost $13m in 2017.

Stonebridge’s Justin Dowers and Kevin Tong brokered the Essendon sale.

Woolworths buys into Essendon

On a hectare at 383 Keilor Road, also fronting Hoffmans and Deakin Street, Niddrie Central offers airspace development upside.

Woolworths passed up the chance to buy it in 2019 when the guide was c$35m; at the time it was collecting annual rent of $1.46m – meaning a yield of c4.2 per cent was being chased.

Its eventual deal comes three years since MarketPlace Fresh’ Stephen Fanous snapped up Essendon’s long-time Boundy’s supermarket at 25-29 Keilor Rd, also for the business to occupy (story continues below).

Mt Gambier sale

Also this month, Woolworths sold adjoining large format retail sites neighbouring Mt Gambier Marketplace in South Australia – about equal distance (c440 kilometres) from Adelaide and Melbourne.

The irregular shaped block off Penola Rd collected $9.25m. The mall is anchored to Bunnings – which relocated there in 2017 – Big W and Woolworths. The parcel abuts the shopping centre’s 1000 bay car park.

Woolworths, often via its Fabcot arm, has in recent years been a particularly active buyer, seller and developer.

In mid-2022, we reported the group outlaid c$12.25m – a low 3.3pc yield – for a tenancy it occupies in the old Glenferrie Market, in Hawthorn.

Also two years ago it secured a $37m collection of Oakleigh industrial sites in the process of being rezoned Mixed Use, allowing a residential-based project.

In 2021 meanwhile it sold a Roxburgh Park neighbourhood shopping centre it anchors, Greenvale Lakes, for $27.7m – a low 3.95pc return.

Mr Dowers and Mr Tong were again the agents.

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Marc Pallisco

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