Sentinel Property Group has completed its purchase of the Casuarina Square shopping centre in Darwin from GPT Group for about $400 million.  

The deal, which was unveiled in October last year, was believed to be the largest single property transaction north of Brisbane, according to Sentinel.  

The shopping centre had more than 190 stores and retailers, including Kmart, Big W, Woolworths, Coles and Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinemas.  

The property has been the dominant shopping centre in the capital city and was a 15-minute drive from Darwin’s Central Business District. 

Sentinel CEO Warren Ebert said securing Casuarina Square was a landmark deal for the company.  

“The centre receives more than eight million visitors a year and there is a tremendous opportunity to add value to the complex as there is approximately 54,000 sqm of development potential on the site,” said Ebert. 

“We are very long in northern Australia, particularly in Darwin and North Queensland, with a portfolio approaching $750 million. 

“The Northern Territory has an enormous couple of decades ahead of it with planned investments in the region of approximately $43 billion, including the $22 billion Australian-ASEAN Power Link Project, the $4.7 billion Santos Barossa Gas Field project and $8 billion in government defence infrastructure.” 

Ebert said the NT government was aiming to achieve 30% population growth and boost its gross state product from $26 billion to $40 billion by 2030. 

Australia’s retail property investment market has rebounded from the pandemic, with recent deals like Firmus Capital’s sale of the Woolworths Schofields Shopping Centre in Sydney for $37.5 million last week.  

Other recent retail property transactions include Stockland and AMP Capital’s disposal of the Coles Kmart Plaza Townsville centre in Townsville, Queensland for $47.25 million and YFG Shopping Centres’ purchase of the Strathpine Centre in Brisbane for $267 million. 

AMP Capital, UniSuper and Cbus Property purchased the remaining 20% of the Pacific Fair shopping centre on the Gold Coast for $336.4 million, while Centuria acquired a $202 million retail precinct in Brisbane’s West End last month.  

Primewest bought the Woolworths-anchored Hurstville Retail Centre under construction from Fridcorp for $41.5 million, while the AMP Capital Shopping Centre Fund acquired an additional 25 per cent stake in Sydney’s Macquarie Centre for $422.5 million.    

Greenpool Capital and Qualitas paid $132 million for the remaining 50% interest in the Gold Coast’s Runaway Bay Centre, as Vicinity Centres acquired a 50% stake in the Gold Coast’s Harbour Town outlet centre for $358 million. 

2021 was a significant year for Australian retail real estate investment – check out Australia’s biggest retail property deals of 2021.