DO­MAIN CEN­TRAL SET­TLES FOR $ 130m

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - TONY RAGGATT busi­ness editor tony.raggatt@news.com.au

ONE of Aus­tralia’s largest in­sti­tu­tional fund man­agers, Queens­land In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, has bought the Do­main Cen­tral shop­ping com­plex for more than $ 130 mil­lion.

The trans­ac­tion, one of the big­gest in Townsville’s re­tail mar­ket, is con­sid­ered a huge vote of con­fi­dence in Townsville and its re­tail mar­ket.

Mayor Jenny Hill said it was good to see Townsville was on the radar of large na­tional in­vestors and was hope­ful it was a sign of a turn­ing point for the econ­omy.

“I think it’s show­ing we have prob­a­bly seen the worst of it and that we are start­ing to see some in­vest­ment back into the re­gion,” Cr Hill said. “I hope this is the first of a se­ries of ma­jor in­vest­ments com­ing to our city.”

QIC Global Real Es­tate man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Steven Leigh con­firmed the deal set­tled this week.

Mr Leigh said the ac­qui­si­tion was one of sev­eral by the co com­pany’s’ re­cently es­tab­lished QIC Ac­tive Re­tail Prop­erty Fund, cre­ated to build a port­fo­lio of de­fen­sive, con­ve­nience­based neigh­bour­hood and subre­gional shop­ping cen­tres and dom­i­nant high- qual­ity lifestyle bulky goods cen­tres.

The Ac­tive Re­tail Prop­erty Fund, seed funded by large in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors in­clud­ing su­per­an­nu­a­tion funds, re­cently ac­quired the Mars­den Park shop­ping cen­tre south of Bris­bane and Bund­aberg’s Hin­kler Cen­tral Shop­ping Cen­tre.

Col­liers In­ter­na­tional Townsville man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Wheeler said the deal was a “huge vote of con­fi­dence” in Townsville at a time of low con­fi­dence.

“Or­gan­i­sa­tions and funds like this don’t spend this sort of money with­out ex­ten­sive due dili­gence and hav­ing some con­fi­dence the as­set has a fu­ture,” he said.

“I It’s’ a bi big shoth in the arm, in my opin­ion, for the con­fi­dence in the Townsville mar­ket.”

Mr Leigh said the shop­ping cen­tre ben­e­fited from ex­cel­lent ex­po­sure and ac­ces­si­bil­ity and its per­for­mance and lo­ca­tion within a vi­brant and grow­ing re­gional hub made it a prime ac­qui­si­tion.

“It will also ben­e­fit from the re­cently an­nounced de­vel­op­ment scheme for the 97ha Townsville City Wa­ter­front Pri­or­ity De­vel­op­ment Area that will see up to $ 1.9 bil­lion in new de­vel­op­ments,” he said.

Do­main Cen­tral, de­vel­oped on 16ha at Duck­worth St, Mount Louisa, by the Lancini group in 2005, com­prises a gross let­table area of 48,706 square me­tres with park­ing for about 1430 cars, mak­ing it the largest bulky goods cen­tre in Queens­land and the fourth largest in Aus­tralia.

Ten­ants in­clude na­tional re­tail­ers Nick Scali, Snooze, Pil­low Talk, Forty Winks, BCF, JB Hi- Fi, The Good Guys and Free­dom Fur­ni­ture.

Mr Leigh said the ini­tial pro­posed plan for Do­main Cen­tral was to en­hance the ex­ist­ing cen­tre and ex­tend its well- es­tab­lished re­tail mix.

QIC, a gov­ern­ment- owned cor­po­ra­tion formed in 1991, is one of Aus­tralia’s largest in­sti­tu­tional fund man­agers. It has de­vel­oped a big port­fo­lio of dom­i­nant re­gional shop­ping cen­tres and CBD com­mer­cial build­ings through­out Aus­tralia.

TOWNSVILLE cou­ple Gareck and Lau­ren Packer are the proud new own­ers of one of the city’s old­est build­ings at 181 Flin­ders St.

The two- level ma­sonry brick build­ing, built in 1886, will serve as the busi­ness premises for Mr Packer’s award- win­ning tech­nol­ogy busi­ness, GP One Con­sult­ing, as well as an in­vest­ment for the cou­ple’s self- man­aged su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund.

Mr Packer will re­lo­cate GP One Con­sult­ing into the prop­erty’s top floor and lease out its 150sq m ground floor area, which most re­cently was used as a res­tau­rant.

“We are look­ing at ex­pand­ing the busi­ness and have been keep­ing our eyes on the prop­erty mar­ket,” Mr Packer said.

“Now is a good time to buy. The price ( on the prop­erty) was re­duced twice be­fore we made an of­fer.

“Not be­ing emo­tion­ally at­tached to a pur­chase, we were able to get a good price.”

The her­itage- listed prop­erty sold for $ 570,000 through Ray White Com­mer­cial. Ray White agent Troy Townsend be­lieved the prop­erty would be worth a lot more in years to come as the city area was re­vi­talised

I think it’s great they are go­ing to bring some life back to a 130- year- old build­ing RAY WHITE AGENT TROY TOWNSEND

through de­vel­op­ments such as the pro­posed In­te­grated Sta­dium and En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre and the new Townsville Wa­ter­front Pri­or­ity De­vel­op­ment Area de­vel­op­ment scheme.

“This sale is another ex­am­ple of the trend we have been see­ing in the last cou­ple of years which is busi­ness own­ers tak­ing ad­van­tage of low in­ter­est rates and soft prop­erty prices to ac­quire their own premises,” Mr Townsend said.

“I think it’s great they are go­ing to bring some life back to a 130- year- old build­ing. I think it will be worth a lot more in years to come.”

Mr Packer started GP One Con­sult­ing in 2009, spe­cial­is­ing in spa­tial data ser­vices, ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment, mo­bile de­ploy­ment and en­ter­prise so­lu­tion ar­chi­tec­ture.

The com­pany con­sults to sec­tors in­clud­ing the sugar and wine- grow­ing in­dus­tries pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion sys­tems to im­prove man­age­ment of har­vest­ing and pro­duc­tion.

GP One, in con­junc­tion with Queens­land dis­as­ter man­age­ment soft­ware com­pany QIT Plus, de­vel­oped an app which last year won the Global Dis­as­ter Re­silience App Chal­lenge run by in­ter­na­tional map­ping tech­nol­ogy gi­ant Esri and the United Na­tions Of­fice for Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion.

The Guardian Evac­u­a­tions app links peo­ple flee­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters with nearby evac­u­a­tion cen­tres, dis­play­ing cen­tre lo­ca­tions and de­tails, as well as real- time traf­fic, weather, flood and fire in­for­ma­tion to help users de­ter­mine the safest routes.

It is a far cry from 181 Flin­ders St which was de­vel­oped in the 1880s as part of a se­ries of sub­stan­tial two- level build­ings along the then- emerg­ing com­mer­cial trad­ing strip.

The prop­erty was built for chemists Atkin­son and Pow­ell and has had many uses in­clud­ing for a den­tist, a book­maker, a watch­maker and as a per­for­mance area for for­mer Stage Door Theatre.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

SU­PER PUR­CHASE: GP One Con­sult­ing’s Gareck Packer and wife Lau­ren.

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