The $33.7 million acquisition is the latest addition to the growing Sentinel Countrywide Retail Trust, an open-ended pooled trust launched last year that now comprises eight retail assets in Queensland and NSW.
“Sentinel has delivered wealth to its investors by being ahead of the pack and buying properties when they are not seen as fashionable and our presence in the retail sector has been a perfect example of this strategy,” said Warren Ebert, MD of Sentinel.
Ebert said Sentinel stayed ahead of trends by purchasing properties that are out of fashion, “but also for their underlying fundamentals and where we see them and the markets in which they operate heading.”
“We were buying homemaker centres and more recently neighbourhood shopping centres when they were out of fashion and the listed funds were selling. We are now seeing the big players moving back into this field on the back of tightening yields and the growing recognition of retail as the best performing commercial property asset class.”
Federation Centres announced its intention to sell Broken Hill’s Westside Plaza and three other regional properties two weeks ago.
Westside Plaza is Sentinel’s second sub-regional shopping centre purchase, and features a total lettable area of 17,400sqm.
It has a 98 per cent occupancy rate and is dominated by national tenants including Woolworths, Big W, Dick Smith, Best & Less, Priceline, Prouds, NAB, McDonald’s, and The Reject Shop.
The acquisition continues Sentinel’s strong buying activity in the retail property sector. In July, it purchased the Nowra House & Home homemaker centre on the NSW south coast for $15.3 million for its new Sentinel Homemaker (Open Ended) Trust.
This followed closely on from the purchase of three neighbourhood shopping centres in Bathurst, Narromine, and Wellington in north west NSW, for a total of $21.55 million for the Sentinel Countrywide Retail Trust.
Ebert said the company’s purchase of five retail assets totalling more than $70 million in value since June 30 this year reinforces its leading position among Australian fund managers in the retail property sector.
Since its was established in 2010, Sentinel has amassed a total national property portfolio of more than 30 retail, industrial, land and office assets, and is closing in on $1 billion in total assets under management.