Sentinel acquires Hunter Supa Centre

Sentinel Property Group has continued its expansion into New South Wales, and in the retail bulky goods sector, with the acquisition of the Hunter Supa Centre at Rutherford in the Lower Hunter region for $18.5 million.

The property is Brisbane-based Sentinel’s second in New South Wales, following closely on from its purchase in April of an industrial facility at South Granville in Sydney for $13.15 million

It is also Sentinel’s fourth retail bulky goods homemaker centre, joining previous acquisitions of centres in Ipswich, Brisbane and Mackay in Queensland. Sentinel now has 14 commercial properties in Queensland and New South Wales valued at more than $260 million.

The Hunter Supa Centre is located at 343 New England Highway at Rutherford, near Maitland, 40km northwest of Newcastle and 160km north of Sydney. It is set on a site area of 50,690sqm and features three separate buildings, completed in 2007, accommodating 21 retail tenancies with a total lettable area of 19,768sqm and a central car park with 438 parking bays.

The majority of the centre’s income, approximately 85 per cent, is underpinned by national tenants, including ASX-listed Fantastic Furniture, Petbarn, Betta Electrical, Loot Homewares, The Outdoor Furniture Specialists, Bubs Baby Shops, Plush, Genesis Fitness, and Repco.

The property has a prominent position fronting the New England Highway, the major arterial link between the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and Sydney, with exposure to high volumes of passing traffic and is well located in an expanding homemaker bulky goods precinct adjacent to other national retailers, including Harvey Norman, Spotlight and Masters Home Improvement.

The sale was negotiated by Philip Gartland and Carl Molony of Stonebridge Property Group.

Warren Ebert, MD of Sentinel, said the property has excellent fundamentals, particularly its strategic location in a coal mining region with ongoing strong population growth.

He said the acquisition is in line with Sentinel’s strategy of securing value-add secondary assets in key growth locations, with the Lower Hunter region boasting similar economic drivers to the central Queensland city of Mackay, where Sentinel owns three properties.

“The Lower Hunter region is the sixth largest urban area in Australia and is one of New South Wales’ major centres of economic activity,” he said.

“It has a diverse economy, with thriving industries in mining, tourism, manufacturing, power generation and winemaking, and is a major coal mining region with the nearby Port of Newcastle the largest coal export terminal in the world.

“The Lower Hunter region has been one of the strongest residential growth areas in New South Wales over the past decade and is set to experience continued population, housing and economic growth, with a forecast 160,000 additional people to reside in the region by 2031.”

Ebert said the retail bulky goods sector has been a major focus of Sentinel’s opportunistic buying strategy, as it offers great value and strong value-add potential.

“The retail bulky goods sector has been out of favour since 2008, with many of the big funds selling out.

Most centres have been picked up by very successful retailers turned property investors, like Brett Blundy, Theo Karedis and John Van Leishout,” he said.

“Sentinel also has a positive outlook for the sector and has been capitalising on the current ‘once in generation’ buying opportunities. The Hunter Supa Centre, like all of our retail bulky goods centres, is prominently positioned in a high-growth location and presents significant opportunity for income growth and return on investment.”

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