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Central Park defies downturn in malls

Friday, June 21, 2019

Strong demand for Australian shopping malls in key city ­locations has been put on ­clear display as the contest for Central Park in inner Sydney comes to a head.

Singapore’s Frasers Property Australia and Japan’s Sekisui House are believed to have ­attracted strong interest for the $170 million asset. The private Fortius Funds Management is ­believed to be vying with another private group for the property.

The partners put the retail component of their $2 billion mixed-use Central Park development near the Sydney CBD on the block in April.

The offer of the complex has drawn potential buyers chasing leisure-based assets rather than traditional centres, which are ­suffering as department store sales sag.

With the 12-year project nearing completion, the joint venture partners will sell the remaining three retail assets — Central Park Mall, DUO Retail and Park Lane Retail — in one line.

The pair secured Jaycar Electronics for a flagship tenancy this month, and the electronics giant has unveiled a new retail concept.

Best known for its vertical gardens and heliostat, Central Park is unrecognisable from its past as a brewery. It also sports offices, ­hotels and student accommodation, all of which has been sold.

The area will benefit from the nearby Central Station’s $955m upgrade and a technology precinct being planned for the area.

Colliers International’s Lachlan MacGillivray is selling the asset but he and the parties ­declined to comment.

Fortius has been one of the busiest property traders this year, selling a tower in the heart of Brisbane in April to Kyko Group for $126.7m.


Fortius and backer BlackRock sold the tower at 201 Charlotte Street to the private Kyko Group after boosting its performance over the past four years.

Fortius and BlackRock again teamed up to buy Adelaide’s 99 Gawler Place for about $42m.

The specialist property funds manager has close to $600m worth of assets under management.

It has defied the gloom in the retail market to win a strong bid on its Junction Fair shopping ­centre in Newcastle, where MPG Funds Management is leading the offers.

That sale is being handled by CBRE’s Nick Willis and Philip Gartland of Stonebridge.

The 7226sq m neighbourhood shopping complex sitting on a 11,250sq m block is anchored by a Coles supermarket. It also has two mini-majors and 22 specialty retailers, and it spins off net ­income of about $3.2m.

Fortius picked up that property in 2015 for $32m from the AMP Property for Income Fund and then overhauled it.

Fortius has since been linked to further retail deals, including Sydney’s Stockland Cammeray, a lifestyle centre that has won bidding at about $39m.


BEN WILMOT COMMERCIAL PROPERTY REPORTER

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