AMP Capital is looking to stamp its authority on Brisbane’s retail property market with the purchase of a $1 billion stake in the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.
The group, which already manages one of the best shopping centre networks in the country, is believed to be heading the field to buy the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation’s half stake in Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, marking one of Australia’s biggest shopping centre deals this year.
It is also a sign of confidence in shopping malls, which remain under pressure from the general downturn in retail sales and the looming threat from Amazon as it plans an entry into the Australian market.
The offer of the interest attracted a who’s who of Australian retail property with Scentre, GPT Group and a tie-up between ISPT and Stockland showing interest, as well as local heavyweight QIC and the John Gandel-backed Vicinity centres.
The stake was offered, via Simon Rooney JLL and Lachlan MacGillivray of Colliers International, with valuable management rights attached, and was the first such sale of a super-regional shopping centre in more than a decade.
If AMP Capital is able to finalise a deal, it will have the chance to bolster the performance of the centre, which could be redeveloped in parts and repositioned to also accommodate international retailers that are a feature of the group’s other major centres in Sydney, the Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne.
Scentre, which has a dominant position in the city, had said would look at the property and is rumoured to have shown interest in buying the entire landmark centre.
It would have held a dominant position in the city but now could face a challenge from AMP Capital that will be looking to revitalise the centre.
Funds manager Eureka Real Assets, which acts as the investment manager for the $41bn super scheme for public servants and the Defence Force, in June began a sale process for the massive 116,000sq m retail complex.
CSC has owned the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in its own right since 2006, after acquiring an initial interest in 1988. Its annual retail turnover is $667m.
It completed a $450m renovation in 2014 following a 30-month process to expand the centre from 86,780sq m.
It now has two department stores, Myers and David Jones, a Kmart and Target, Coles and Woolworths, a 16-screen cinema and more than 350 shops. The centre’s vacancy rate is less than 1.5 per cent.
Indooroopilly is the pre-eminent centre servicing the inner western and southwestern suburbs of Brisbane and the impending sale will set fresh benchmarks across the sector.
Australia’s shopping centre sector is split between soaring values for key assets and sluggish growth for smaller assets.
The strong result in the race for the CSC’s half-stake in the Indooroopilly bodes well for the valuations on many of best malls held by listed groups.
The Brisbane centre also has significant upside in the medium term as apartments can be developed around it and AMP is pursuing a strategy to build town centres with residential units around is centres in Sydney and Perth.
The parties and agents declined to comment.
Brisbane CBD Leasing Market Strongest in 10 Years
Research released by JLL has recorded a positive net absorption of 151,200sq m nationwide over the last quarter and 258,600sq m over the 12 months to September 2018.
Brisbane CBD recorded 15,400sq m of net absorption in the third quarter and vacancy tightened to 13.9 per cent.
Over the past year, net absorption in Brisbane totalled 39,600sq m, 29 per cent above the 40-year average of 30,600 square metres.
“Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide will be the office markets to watch closely in 2019,” JLL head of office leasing Tim O’Connor said.
“Leasing enquiry and activity is positive, prime grade vacancy has tightened in Brisbane and Adelaide and we expect owners will start winding back incentives to a level more associated with current vacancy rates.”
Australian CBD Office Markets Net Absorption
Adelaide has benefited from growth in the defence, resources and professional services sectors recording positive net absorption of 14,700sq m over the quarter and 23,200sq m over the 12 months to September 2018.
Melbourne has continued to be the standout performer nationwide, recording 79,900sq m of net absorption over the quarter and 187,800sq m over the 12 months to September 2018.
“The Melbourne CBD office leasing market juggernaut continues to roll on,” O’Connor said.
“Melbourne is one of the world’s strongest performing cities and we continue to see a diverse range of industry sectors expanding their occupational footprint in the Melbourne CBD.”
Australian CBD Office Markets, Vacancy Rate by Grade
Melbourne’s CBD development pipeline over the next two years is anticipated to be the cities largest year for completions since 1991.
JLL projects vacancy as of 2020 will sit around 6 per cent, well below equilibrium of 7 per cent to 9 per cent for the Melbourne CBD.
Sydney CBD recorded 8,800sq m of net absorption over the 12 months to September 2018 and vacancy was 4.7 per cent, exerting upward pressure on Sydney CBD rents.
“Two more WeWork facilities opened last quarter and we are speaking with a number of potential new co-working operators,” O’Connor said.
Sydney currently faces challenges for new entrants with a lack of contiguous space within the CBD.
Brisbane’s Hotel Market Welcomes New Offering
Ovolo purchased the 103-room hotel for $41 million earlier this year and quickly set in motion plans to transform the building’s decor to reflect its reputation for “fabulous and unconventional” amenities.
The multimillion-dollar renovation which has been spearheaded by Woods Bagot, aims to provide a “whimsical oasis for guests”, rife with playful and colourful elements, commissioned art pieces, custom wallpapers and eccentric furniture.
“Our brief to Woods Bagot was that each of our hotels must have their own unique personality and style, inspired by local surrounds, culture, heritage and Ovolo’s playful, forward-thinking spirit, and they’ve delivered exactly that with The Valley,” Ovolo Group chief executive Girish Jhunjhnuwala said.
“There is an element of fantasy, escapism and play in The Valley. We’re positioning it as the perfect contemporary oasis to escape our busy urban lives.”
“With investments totalling around $90 million this project is helping to solidify Brisbane’s reputation as a world-class destination,” Tourism Industry development minister Kate Jones said.
Ovolo has been very active in the Australian market since opening its first Australian hotel in 2013, Melbourne’s Ovolo Laneways.
The hotelier isn’t a stranger to large-scale renovations having purchased the site of the former Blue and the W hotels in Woolloomooloo for $35 million in 2014.
Ovolo spent $20 million on renovations on the site of the former Blue and the W hotels along the historic Woolloomooloo wharf.
The group’s Inchcolm Hotel located in Brisbane’s Spring Hill has also revitalised a heritage-listed building, after paying $16.5 million for the property.
Ovolo now holds hotels in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, with three more located in Hong Kong.
Brisbane’s luxury hotel sector is one of the busiest in the country with a range of new brands opening or under construction.
Emporium has now moved and opened its new 143 room 5-star hotel as part of the the $600 million Southpoint precinct in Southbank developed by Brisbane family-owned Anthony John Group.
The Calile, The Malouf family’s new $100 million 175-guest room hotel, inspired by Miami, Palm Springs and Rio de Janeiro, has also opened its doors in Fortitude Valley
US hotel chain Starwood Hotels and Resorts has also brought the first Westin branded hotel to Queensland.
Starwood’s fourth Westin hotel in Australia, featuring 286 guest rooms, is due to open in November.
Adina has also taken a landmark, early 20th-century bank on the corner of George and Elizabeth Streets and transformed it into a glamorous 220-room hotel with river views and heritage features.
Developers Deague Group, creator of the renowned Art Series Hotels, also have plans for a 164-room hotel as part of the $200 million Howard Smith Wharves redevelopment, which is currently underway.
Brisbane has also become home to Australia’s only W hotel, the city’s first 5-Star hotel in 20 years.
The new 312-room hotel is part of the ambitious Brisbane Quarter project, a mixed-use, three-building development comprised of residences, offices, restaurants, and retail.
Brisbane Airport Expands as 24-Hour Trade and Commerce Centre
The research findings were gathered from a questionnaire aimed at current businesses and a survey of BNE workers, which produced valuable insights from over 425 businesses and 1,000 airport workers.
Brisbane Airport’s status as a 24-hour global trade and commerce centre has seen it expand rapidly within retail, commercial and industrial sectors – with employees and businesses maintaining high satisfaction rates throughout key growth cycles.
Currently more than 4 out of 5 businesses who are established at Brisbane Airport indicate that performance at the vibrant commercial and lifestyle precinct is either very good or excellent.
Further research has found that 94 per cent of over 425 business sites recognise BNE as a stable or growing market opportunity.
With 90 per cent of current airport workers (out of the 24,000 employees that work on BNE or with BAC) also enjoy working at Brisbane Airport, while an impressive 98 per cent recognise the positive impact the area has on the Queensland economy.
BNE Property attribute this satisfaction to their own vision for a partnership between BAC and the growing, diverse tenant base at the airport.
BNE Property is responsible for guiding sustainable property development for Brisbane Airport and managing a property portfolio valued at over $1.3 billion, spread over 2,700 hectares – with upcoming projects set to continue growth for the precinct.
Over 500 hectares of land is available for landside development and the company is designing unique spaces and looking at opportunities which could potentially close their 0.9 per cent vacancy rate, currently the lowest in the country.
Work on the landmark Skygate Home & Life Centre began at Brisbane Airport in November 2017, encompassing 9,260 square metres of large format retail space and becoming one of the latest additions to the BNE Property portfolio.
The project attracted pre-commitments from big brands such as Nick Scali, Pillow Talk and Lighting Illusions, making the new centre an impressive addition to the Brisbane Airport community and further growing their reputation for excellent public amenity.
In the same year, BNE Property announced its one-of-a-kind $300 million Auto Mall development at the heart of the airport precinct. Planned around a multi-purpose 2.5-kilometre performance track, the innovative Auto Mall will bring together flagship dealerships, auto retailing, exhibition and conference facilities, and a range of event areas.
Each of these projects coincide with Brisbane Airport’s new runway, which 70 per cent of businesses in the precinct believe will have a positive impact on their business.
The second runway is designed not only to positively impact the businesses at the airport but also contribute to the precinct’s uniquely Queensland offering.
The $1.3 billion project employs 90 per cent of its workers from South-East Queensland and sources 90 per cent of its construction equipment for the 360 hectare site from local areas. The new 3.3 km runway and its associated development confirms BAC’s commitment to the local community.
BNE Property’s vision for the future incorporates all current tenants in the next steps of the journey. The airport’s prime location only 15 minutes from the Brisbane CBD and its connection to major arterial roads means the land is being prepared for future growth and the development of more retail and commercial offerings.
Future development opportunities in BNE’s property pipeline include industrial sites at Skygate and Airport Industrial Park alongside commercial sites at Boulevard Business Park.
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