A consortium including UniSuper, Cbus Property and the AMP Capital Finance has shattered the record for Australia’s largest retail transaction, picking up stakes in two nationally recognised shopping centres.
The $2.2-billion deal more than doubles the previous largest direct retail property deal which was when the Alter family’s Pacific Group of Companies Retail sold half of the Pacific Werribee and Pacific Epping shopping centres to Investment Corporation in 2018.
The new consortium will now take 50 per cent of the Macquarie Centre in Sydney’s north and 80 per cent of Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast.
Since 2012, AMP Capital has overseen the redevelopment of both centres on behalf of its investors to enhance their retail offerings and trade area dominance.
Pacific Fair is the country’s fifth-largest shopping centre, spanning around 150,000 square metres.
The centre underwent a $670-million refurbishment five years ago, to elevate it a “luxury destination”, adding 46,500sq m of retail space, about 100 specialty stores and an extra 1300 car parks.
In Sydney, the Macquarie Centre spans 135,000sq m and is near the Macquarie Metro Station and Macquarie University in the heart of the Macquarie Park business park.
The redeveloped shopping centre is recognised as one of Sydney’s premium shopping destination with more than 360 specialty stores over four levels, anchored by Myer and David Jones.
The centre currently has plans for 1000 new apartments in four tower blocks and the centre could also be further overhauled.
AMP Capital head of real estate Kylie O’Connor said the record investment reflected the new partners’ positive outlook and momentum in the retail sector, and in particular, the “quality” of its retail assets under management.
“This deal demonstrates the returning confidence investors have in the retail sector, particularly for high-quality, well-managed assets, and the support for our highly regarded and talented management platform,” O’Connor said.
“[Our new partners] will help to unlock future opportunities at each asset, both of which are in prime locations within exceptional trade areas.”
The acquisitions took place via the purchase of 100 per cent of the units in the AMP Capital Retail Trust from CPPIB, Harina (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) and the AMP Life Property Fund.
The trust, established in 2012, was founded by investors Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Harina Company Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and AMP Life Limited.
In 2016, AMP Life’s interest was transferred into the AMP Life Property Fund managed by AMP Capital.
The new deal was facilitated by the AMP Capital Real Estate team in conjunction with the vendors’ advisers Colliers’ Lachlan MacGillivray, as well as Morgan Stanley’s Tim Church and Craig Smith.
Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright advised the consortium on the acquisition, while King & Wood Mallesons acted for the sellers.
Law firm Gadens advised Cbus Property.
Chief executive Adrian Pozzo said the fund manager and investor had been drawn to each asset’s potential for future growth.
A quarter interest in the Macquarie Centre and a 20 per cent interest in Pacific Fair remain up for grabs.
Last month, Dexus Wholesale Property Fund appointed CBRE’s Simon Rooney, together with Nick Willis and Sam Hatcher of JLL, to steer the expressions of interest campaign.