Adelaide Investor Spends $85m on NZ Shopping Centre


Adelaide-based DiMauro Group has crossed the Tasman to snap up major Christchurch regional shopping mall The Palms for $85 million.

The 34,400sq m shopping centre, 4km north-east of the CBD, is anchored by department store Farmers, the Woolworths Group-owned supermarket Countdown and Reading Cinema.

CBRE’s Simon Rooney and Brent McGregor, who negotiated the off-market acquisition on behalf of the AMP Capital Shopping Centre Fund, said that three of the eight bidders for the asset had been Australian, including the Di Mauro Group.

“New Zealand continues to gain traction as a retail investment destination,” Rooney said.

“Offshore investors are attracted by the country’s compelling investment fundamentals, including low retail supply per capita, ongoing strong population growth, robust retail turnover growth, low acquisition costs and an attractive yield profile.”

DiMauro Group, led by Nick DiMauro, owns more than $1.4 billion in property assets in Australia and New Zealand.

DiMauro currently has two shopping centres in New Zealand, the West City Shopping Centre in Auckland, acquired for $147 million in 2017, and the North City Shopping Centre in Wellington, picked up the following year for $100 million.

“We were looking to expand our New Zealand portfolio,” DiMauro said.

“Christchurch and The Palms seemed like a good fit for us, so we made the acquisition.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in New Zealand economy. I think it’s going the right way.”

DiMauro, who arrived in Australia from Italy in 1961, bought his first shopping centre in Adelaide in 1995, after having started out as a plumber and moving into snack bars.

In Australia, the property manager now holds 11 shopping centres in South Australia, predominantly in Adelaide, with three in Queensland, one each in Western Australia and NSW.

For AMP, the sale of The Palms to DiMauro Group and a separate transaction to sell its $210-million half stake in a Perth mall to local fund manager Greenpool Capital are part of a broader divestment strategy by the AMP Capital Shopping Centre Fund.

The fund is looking to bed down the massive $2.2 billion in investment it steered into Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast and Sydney’s Macquarie Centre last month, the biggest direct retail property transaction in Australia.

As it sharpens the focus of its managed portfolio into core retail property, AMP Capital is also expected to soon consider the remaining stakes in Pacific Fair and the Macquarie Centre, which are controlled by Dexus.

AMP Capital is also moving to sell a half stake in a Townsville shopping centre, worth about $150 million.

AMP Capital still owns 25 shopping centres including Botany Town Centre in Auckland and Merivale Mall in Christchurch.

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