Hamilton NZ shopping malls on brink of sellingCentre Place South went up for sale in February this year. It is now under negotiation, with a deal likely early next year. Photo: Chris Hillock / Fairfax New Zealand

Hamilton NZ shopping malls on brink of selling

Narelle Henson

Two of the three Hamilton malls up for sale are getting closer to finalised deals.

In February this year Kiwi Property Group announced it would sell the recently-refurbished Centre Place South, putting almost 11,000 square metres of retail space up for sale in the middle of Hamilton city.

That included Farmers, and 27 other retailers as the space is fully let.

Formerly called Downtown Plaza, Centre Place South was given a $36 million face-lift and linked to Centre Place North in 2013.

At the time that it was put up for sale, Kiwi Property Group head of transactions, Miles Brown, said the $120m complex was “quite a large exposure to Hamilton CBD [Central Business District] retail”.

“We are just weighting it down a little bit to a size we are more comfortable with,” he said.

The announcement came on the back of company annual reports which said the mall complex had struggled with “competition” for the past five years.

According to its 2014 annual report, that resulted in the mall being written down by $14.5m, despite the recent upgrade.

Kiwi Property Group would retain ownership of Centre Place North, and has offered to manage the space it was selling off on behalf of the new owner.

Centre Place South was put up for sale by international private treaty, with offers due in March.

Colliers agent John Goddard said the space was under negotiation, and a deal was expected early in the new year.

He said he could not comment on how much interest the mall space had attracted, or whether or not the buyer was international.

“We are wrapped up in confidentiality agreements, so we can’t talk to [that]”.

A fortnight after the Centre Place sale was announced, Scentre Group announced it planned to sell its Westfield Chartwell mall.

The mall was one of four the Group put up for sale as it looked to re-jig its assets, and added another 29,000sqm of retail space to the market.

Westfield Chartwell was a vocal opponent to Hamilton City Council’s shift to a capital value rating system in 2014.

The change will see its annual rates go from $317,606 to $1.6m a year as the new system is brought in over the next 10 years.

However, Scentre Group said at the time the sale was announced that the decision was based on ” a number of factors. No single factor has been dominant in the case of the decision with respect to Westfield Chartwell”.

The mall has 129 tenants and 1093 carparking spaces and was valued in December 2014 at $177m.

Scentre Group’s spokeswoman Debra McGhie, said there were no updates on the sale, including whether or not it was under negotiation and when a sale was likely.

Six months after the 40,000sqm of retail space in the city went up for sale, Tainui Group Holdings announced a 50 per cent stake in its leasing business at The Base, in Te Rapa, was for sale.

All land would remain in the ownership of Waikato-Tainui, for which Tainui Group Holdings operates as a commercial arm.

The Base houses 180 shops and businesses on 87,000sqm of retail space and is one of the largest shopping centres in New Zealand.

The move came in an effort to free up cash for the tribe, and allow a partner to take The Base to “the next level” according to Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Chris Joblin.

Tainui confirmed that there had been “extensive interest” from both international and local parties.

It said the organisation was “currently working through the process with a view to confirming and considering final bids in the first quarter of 2016.”

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