Room for growth as Bendigo Marketplace sells

BENDIGO Marketplace could be expanded in coming years, following its $165 million sale to property fund managers ISPT. 

Retail services general manager Sam Curry confirmed today that ISPT had bought Bendigo Marketplace, including the Iceworks site and other adjoining properties, realising a market for growth in Bendigo. 

However no major changes are expected in the near future. 

"From our perspective there will be no immediate changes," Mr Curry said. 

"Business will be as per normal but we do see an opportunity at the Iceworks site, which we acquired as well. 

"There is the possibility of expansion - we see the potential of the site, and Bendigo itself."

He said feasibility studies must occur before any development time frames could be established. 

ISPT is a wholesale property fund that invests in property on behalf of superannuation funds, such as Australian Super. 

Chief executive Daryl Browning said Bendigo Marketplace was a strong fit for the company's retail portfolio and in line with its investment strategy.

Bendigo Business Council chief executive Patrick Falconer said the sale was purely a business decision. 

"Many shopping centres are bought by major corporations and superannuation funds," he said. 

"They realised it was a good investment in this thriving regional town and saw some profit to be made. 

"It's positive that Bendigo is seen as the flavour of the month."

The central shopping district has been on the market since October last year and was sold by the Private Property Syndicate. 

Exchange of the sale took place on December 17 last year, with settlement approved this month. 

The site was marketed as having strong performing retail characteristics with appeal to a broad pool of Australian-based institutional investors and off-shore investment groups.

The shopping centre's annul traffic is 4.5 million people with a $203 million annual sales turnover.

It is anchored by a Big W discount store and Safeway supermarket.

The centre also has two mini majors, Best & Less and Dick Smith, and incorporates 113 specialty shops, including kiosks and ATMs.

Colonial First State Global Asset Management says it is one of the strongest performing and fundamentally sound sub-regional shopping centres that has been offered for sale in Victoria for quite some time.

More to come. 

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