Retail property news

Lowy bows out, selling Scentre Group shares

Sixty years after helping launch the first Westfield shopping centre in Blacktown, Sydney, Frank Lowy has sold off his shares in Scentre Group, finalising his exit from the Australian retail market. 

The Lowy family’s 4.6 per cent interest, or 206.1 million shares, sold for approximately $815 million to investment bank UBS, which went on to offer the shares for a 1.3 per cent discount on last Wednesday’s closing price of $4.01, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Investors greeted the Lowy exit with some trepidation, marking down the shares immediately. The shares were sitting at $3.85 at the time of publication.

The sale marks the end of an era for Lowy. The 87-year-old, who retired as chairman of Scentre Group in 2015 and from the role of chairman of Westfield Corporation in 2018, said the decision was both frightening and a great relief. 

“All my life from a young man I have worked very hard and I enjoyed it very much, [but] I was really afraid with what I would do when I no longer had the responsibility,” Lowy said at a business conference in Sydney.

St Mary’s Village sells for $68 million

Mirvac’s St Marys Village in Sydney’s western suburbs has been sold for $68 million to a local private investor The price represents a 36 per cent premium to book value.

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St Marys Village has a GLA of 15,904sqm on 4.2 hectares, and is anchored by a Woolworths, Target and 37 specialty stores. Shopping Centre News reports that the centre this year reported a turnover per square metre of $5937.

The centre is fully leased and has been owned and managed by Mirvac for the last 13 years. Located in a trade area with a growing population, the centre will also benefit from a new rail link to the new Western Sydney Airport in coming years, SCN says. 

Stockland announces ‘solid start’ 

Stockland has released its first-quarter market update ahead of its annual meeting, reporting an increase in residential sales, an increase in comparable retail MAT growth, continued upweighting in logistics and progress in its commercial property development pipeline.

Managing director and CEO Mark Steinert praised the solid start for the year, saying that in residential, the company had taken 1149 deposits and had 4245 contracts on hand.

Steinert said the residential market cycle had improved, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, with stronger results shown in southeast Queensland as well.

He was optimistic about the outlook for fiscal 2021 due to the market recovery, and because five new communities were driving an increase in settlements.

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