Western Sydney University is offloading a newly built neighbourhood shopping centre and an adjoining residential development site next to the Nepean Hospital, a TAFE and the university’s campus in Kingswood, with sources expecting they could sell for as much as $80 million.
The new shopping centre, Caddens Corner, is on track to open in November, and will cater to almost 17,000 students.
It will include 9500 sq m of retail and community space and will be anchored by a Woolworths supermarket and BWS liquor store, with 5900 sq m of specialty retail and food outlets, and childcare and medical centres.
Peter Pickering, vice-president, finance and resources, at Western Sydney University, said development of the shopping centre was part of the university’s growth strategy.
“Caddens Corner is creating jobs and will boost the local economy, whilst also contributing to the financial sustainability of the university,” Mr Pickering said.
The divestment follows moves by other universities to offload surplus property assets to strengthen their balance sheets as they face financial headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of borders to foreign students.
The sector is expected to lose $16 billion in revenue between 2020 and 2023, according to modelling from Universities Australia.
In June, RMIT University in Melbourne expedited its plans to offload a 14-storey strata property on Bourke Street for more than $120 million and lease it back in for five years.
Also in Melbourne, Swinburne University has put a seven-storey office building on Flinders Lane back on the market, just one year after buying it for $44 million.
JLL’s Nick Willis and Sam Hatcher have been appointed to sell Caddens Corner, with Ben Hunter managing the sale of the development site next door. Halesmith Property’s Richard Horne is overseeing the process as transaction manager.
“It is unique to offer for sale a brand-new shopping centre, especially in the heart of metropolitan Sydney,” Mr Willis said.
“Caddens Corner has been developed without compromise and will set the benchmark nationally for convenience-based retailing. In addition, the centre provides an opportunity to add further value and diversify with residential and mixed-use development potential.”
Mr Hatcher said there had been a significant shift in investor demand during the pandemic towards convenience-based real estate assets, given their resilience.
The zoning of the 3.3-hectare high-density residential site would give developers the option to create house-and-land packages or develop townhouses or apartments.
“Large infill developments like this are unique and, given the R4 zoned nature, connectivity to the university and new shopping centre, it will be highly sought after,” Mr Hunter said.
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