M/Group has acquired a third sub-regional shopping centre asset, Pialba Place Shopping Centre in Hervey Bay, QLD. The acquisition was made as part of an investment model that has already proven highly successful in the first two of its shopping centre assets.

The Centre was acquired in an off-market transaction for $36million, of which $22million was raised through a company-managed property investment fund. The purchase price represents a yield of approximately 8% on passing net income. The asset is 3.5 hours drive from Brisbane at the gateway to Fraser Island and located on a 4.38 hectare site that occupies an island block surrounded by three street frontages.

M/Group Managing Director, Mr Lloyd Clark, said the site was identified for its development potential and possesses the same return prospects as the company’s current shopping centre portfolio.

“Our model is to acquire assets that provide strong income returns to our investors whilst implementing strategies that reposition the assets. We first look to acquire assets with solid fundamentals and overriding lease covenants that also offer value add opportunities that can improve both the shopping experience and investment returns,” he said.

“The model has already proven successful at Wodonga Plaza in Victoria, which recently recorded an independent valuation uplift of $10.5million in just over a year. We also expect similar results from our WA Asset in Albany, Chester Pass Mall, following the announcement of development plans and an agreement with an ASX National retail group to relocate its premises to the Centre.
Wodonga Plaza was acquired for $ 43.5 million in 2017 and is now operating at almost 100% occupancy. It’s increased Weighted Average Lease Expiry (WALE) has gone from under 4 years to just over 6 years.

Albany’s Chester Pass Mall received a valuation uplift of $5 million from its original purchase price of $20million, again on the back of a ‘hands-on’ leasing strategy. M/Group is expecting a further significant valuation up-lift following the agreement with an ASX National retail group, as well as pursuing other tenant negotiations to further improve amenity at the Centre.

M/Group Director, James Collis, who manages the company’s assets, said M/Group has already identified a number of opportunities at Pialba Place that could further increase the shopping centre’s capital value in the short, medium and long term, including a gap analysis that provides several opportunities for future retail.

“Pialba Place is extremely well located and backed by a good local economy, growing population and a number of blue-chip tenants, including Coles and Big W. This, of course, is pivotal in providing secure long-term income,” he said.

“M/Group is already working on plans to reposition the Centre, including investing in a refurbishment. We take a very hands-on management approach to back filling and renegotiating tenancies for immediate gains.

Settlement of Pialba Place took place Friday, 8 February 2019.

M/Group incorporates expertise in built form and land development, construction and building maintenance, funds management and property management.

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