Meridian mall sold for third time

The Meridian mall in George St, Dunedin, has been sold in a portfolio of four shopping centres in...
The Meridian mall in George St, Dunedin, has been sold in a portfolio of four shopping centres in New Zealand, for $197 million.

Dunedin's Meridian mall in George St has been sold for the third time in 14 years.

The mall is one of a portfolio of four shopping centres in New Zealand sold for $NZ197 million by a listed Australian property company to a new real-estate fund.

ASX-listed Land Lease bought the four New Zealand properties a year ago from the ING Retail Property Fund for $185 million.

ING had bought the Meridian mall, Dunedin's largest shopping centre, from Arthur Barnett in early 2003 for $52.65 million.

Lend Lease announced yesterday the launch of its Lend Lease Real Estate Partners New Zealand Fund, in which it retains a 5.3% stake and which bought the four shopping centres on behalf of a small group of global institutional investors.

The four properties were put on the market in February with Colliers International.

Tenders closed in the middle of March, the properties having been expected to sell for about $200 million.

Land Lease group chief executive Steve McCann said in an ASX statement the transaction was consistent with Land Leases's strategy to "recycle capital" while also increasing funds under management.

The Partners New Zealand Fund had commitments of $115 million and the deal to clinch the purchase was expected to be completed by next month, he said.

"The transaction allows investors to gain exposure to a well-established portfolio of retail assets in New Zealand," Mr McCann said.

Aside from the Meridian mall, the portfolio covers Dress Smart outlet centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Rates information from the Dunedin City Council listed the Meridian property in three parts, with a total capital value of $71.6 million.

The Meridian mall sits on a 9391sq m George St site with a three-level shopping centre, offices and 664 car parks on two upper levels and an adjacent building in Filleul St.

The mall has a net annual income of $6.44 million.

Six months after a successful $9.5 million takeover bid by Dunedin company Belwalsh Holdings for control of 100-year-old retailer Arthur Barnett in November 2002, the company sold the Meridian, a subsidiary of Arthur Barnett, to ING for $52.65 million.




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