UniSuper and Cbus Property have teamed up with AMP Capital to take majority ownership of Pacific Fair in Queensland and a 50% stake in Macquarie Centre in NSW in a retail deal worth $2.2 billion.
The deal marks the largest retail transaction in Australian history, as well as one of the largest global retail deals since 2018.
Located on the Gold Coast, the Pacific Fair shopping centre offers 147,353sqm of gross lettable area and is let to eight major tenants, 25 mini majors and 329 specialty stores.
Sydney’s Macquarie Centre features 135,514sqm of GLA and is home to eight major tenants, 22 mini majors and 327 specialty stores.
Under the deal, UniSuper and Cbus Property will join the AMP Capital Retail Trust (ACRT), with AMP Capital continuing to manage both shopping centres.
“We anticipate an increase in returns from certain shopping centres as retailers seek exposure to dominant shopping centres, such as Macquarie Centre and Pacific Fair, to leverage their omni-channel retail plans,” said UniSuper Head of Property and Infrastructure Kent Robbins.
“We look forward to our partnership with Cbus Property and AMP Capital to maximise the potential of the assets, including the mixed-use development opportunities for both centres, to deliver greater retirement outcomes for our members.”
Cbus Property Chief Executive Officer Adrian Pozzo said they were excited to partner with UniSuper and AMP Capital on these premium flagship retail assets, with potential for future growth opportunities in both centres.
“This blue-chip retail portfolio complements Cbus Property’s existing premium commercial office portfolio, which was recently awarded Australia’s highest NABERS Energy rating in the NABERS Sustainable Portfolios Index for the second year in a row,” said Mr Pozzo.
Since 2012, AMP Capital has overseen the redevelopment of Pacific Fair and Macquarie Centre on behalf of investors to enhance the retail offering and trade area dominance of both assets.
AMP Capital Head of Real Estate Kylie O’Connor said the deal demonstrated the returning confidence investors had in the retail sector, particularly for high-quality, well-managed assets.
“As we move closer to operating under the demerged Private Markets business, we look forward to working with our partners to unlock future opportunities at each asset, both of which are in prime locations within exceptional trade areas,” she said.
“This includes further strengthening performance with innovative retail solutions and capitalising on their mixed-use potential, including Macquarie Centre’s mixed-use DA.”
The transaction was overseen by the AMP Capital real estate team, alongside the vendors’ advisers: Colliers Head of Retail Investment Services Lachlan MacGillivray, Morgan Stanley chairman of investment banking in Australia, Tim Church and head of real estate in Australia Craig Smith.
The deal comes just days after Vicinity Centres bought a 50% stake in the Gold Coast’s Harbour Town outlet centre from a Lendlease-managed fund for $358 million.
According to JLL research, Australia’s retail property market continues to recover from low sales volumes recorded in mid-2020, with transaction volumes increasing 11% to $7.3 billion during the 2021 financial year.