A NEWCASTLE-BASED syndicate has purchased the Maryland Shopping Centre and has promised it has “big things” in the pipeline for the retail hub.
That will include a spend of at least $3 million towards improvements in the short to medium term.
“The centre itself was attractive because of how under-serviced we believe that particular residential area is from a retail perspective,” said Gavan Reynolds, a spokesperson for the new owners.
“We have close friends and family members that live in that area that are having to travel significant distances to places like Glendale and Wallsend just to do their supermarket shopping.
“For too long now the asset has been neglected and the local community and existing retailers deserve better.”
The syndicate has paid $7.5 million for the centre at 144 Maryland Drive, after the former owner Billcotta Pty Ltd went into receivership.
Australian Property Monitors records show Billcotta purchased the site for $900,000 in 1994.
PPB Advisory acted as receivers of the 1.39 hectare site and admitted it had had a “chequered past” following the departure of Bi-Lo as the anchor tenant.
They had to remove a number of tenants that were not paying rent, at the same time as Coles and Aldi both moved into new facilities within the surrounding three kilometres.
“[We] managed to combine three vacant shops and locate a medical centre operator in order to create foot traffic,” said Ken Whittingham, a partner at PPB Advisory.
Agents from Colliers International and Stonebridge Property Group negotiated the sale and said the centre attracted a record number of bids. They put the interest down to its location – along the booming western residential growth corridor – and the opportunity to value-add to the site.
“This was a strong result to kick off 2017 and confirms the amount of interest in the burgeoning Newcastle and Hunter Valley area,” Colliers International director Adam Leacy said.
Mr Reynolds said the goal was not compete with Charlestown Square or Westfield Kotara but to create a shopping village that the people of Maryland could be proud of.
That would be achieved with cosmetic improvements and attracting the right mix of tenants, he said.
“The Maryland Tavern is an institution out there and it has a very parochial local following,” he said. “We believe whatever happens in that supermarket space will be similarly embraced by the local community.
“There is so much potential for the centre and we’re very excited about what the future holds.”