South Haven goes north for Canberra asset

28th April, 2016

Published: Australian Financial Review, Nick Lenaghan.

Melbourne private investor, South Haven Group, has made its first foray into the Canberra property market, picking up a Northbourne Avenue office block in the central city for $29.2 million.

The 6,100 square metre tower at 73 Northbourne Avenue had been held by Hume Property Partners, a property platform linked to the Taverners Group.

For South Haven, a 30 year-old development and investment firm co-founded and led by Ian Pratt, the move north is a logical expansion of its portfolio.

“We are currently establishing a pipeline of quality, investment and ‘upgrade’-ready commercial, retail and residential projects off the back of a newly established acquisition fund and investment arm,” Mr Pratt said.

South Haven recently sold a Dandenong office tower for more than $10 million and the Croydon Central Shopping Centre for more than $40 million, both in Melbourne’s south-east.

Those deals have provided capital to the Melbourne-based group for fresh acquisitions. Boosted with investment from other sources, South Haven now has capacity to pursue projects totalling in excess of $150 million, Mr Pratt said.

The Northbourne deal was struck on a yield of 8.75 per cent. The building stands at the gateway to Canberra’s CBD and is primarily leased to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Dixon Advisory.

Hume appointed Jones Lang LaSalle’s  Michael Heather and Rob Anderson and CBRE’s Andrew Stewart and Scott Gray-Spencer to handle the sale.

“It remains clear that office investments in Canberra are sought after by a range of buyer cohorts particularly when the property offers a strong tenant profile and is positioned close to public transport and amenity, as 73 Northbourne Avenue does,” Mr Heather said.

The Northbourne transaction is the latest in a string of deals that show the Canberra market’s increasing relevance to heavyweight investors.

That interest culminated in a record year in Canberra’s sales of property above $5 million. The total was near $540 million last year.

Interstate players dominated those deals, although the biggest single transaction was the acquisition of the Louisa Lawson building on Cowlishaw Street in Greenway for $225 million by South Korea’s FG Asset Management.