$40m for Haben to expand footprint

30th May, 2015

Published: The Australian, Ben Wilmot.

Sydney Property funds manager Haben Retail Management has swooped on Melbourne’s Croydon Central Shopping Centre, picking it up from PCL Prattcorp for more than $40 million.

The deal will lift Haben’s network to five centres and the group has already flagged plans to reposition the single level centre anchored by Coles and Aldi.

JLL Head of Retail Investments, Australasia, Simon Rooney, brokered the sale.

“We continue to see robust demand for assets from a widening range of institutional and private investors,” he said.

Mr Rooney said the heavy focus on the non-discretionary based neighbourhood sector reflected the attractiveness of defensive assets which provide long term stable income returns and potential for capital growth.

Haben wants to renew expired leases and lease up vacant areas, as well as make improvements to the existing centre. Longer term, it will investigate expansion and development plays.

The vendor, PCL Prattcorp, confirmed it was in talks with Haben about selling the centre.

“Although negotiations are yet to be finalised, it is likely the centre will be sold to Haben Property in July,” PCL Prattcorp’s Michael Carnell said.

PCL Prattcorp, headed by Ian Pratt, has been involved investing for four decades. It focuses on commercial retail, rural and residential developments. The company has already undertaken three years of planning on redeveloping the shopping centre.

Mr Carnell said that Haben had been selected as a potential purchaser because of its expertise in centres and its plans to transform the site into one of the region’s premier convenience-based assets.

The centre spans a gross lettable area of 9589sq m and, alongside anchors Coles and Aldi, has one mini-major and 31 specialty shops. The centre sits on a 44,979sq m site, making the redevelopment possible. The moving annual turnover tops $70m.

Haben also owns the Seven Hills shopping centre in Sydney’s western suburbs, the Illawong Village Shopping Centre and Station Plaza St Marys, as well as a centre in the western Sydney suburb of Woodcroft.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, investors are chasing the Brand Smart Premium Outlet Centre, that is being offered by Commercial Property Corporation with hopes of about $75m.