Cairns Central for sale; one of Queensland’s most dominant retail assets

21 March 2023

An incredible opportunity exists to purchase the only Regional Shopping Centre in Far North Queensland, with Cairns Central coming to market exclusively through Colliers and McVay Real Estate.

Colliers’ Managing Director of Retail Capital Markets, Lachlan MacGillivray, in conjunction with McVay Real Estate’s Managing Director, Sam McVay, are marketing Cairns Central on behalf of the Lendlease managed Australian Prime Property Fund Retail (APPF Retail).

Home to 186 tenants that underpin the outstanding trading performance, Cairns Central is securely anchored by a Myer, Kmart, Target, Coles, Woolworths and Event Cinemas.

A lifestyle, entertainment and fashion destination for both residents and tourists alike, the centre is one of Australia’s top performers reporting total sales of $492 million per annum.

Major tenants report a combined $198 million in sales per annum and have a long WALE of 6.3 years by GLA and 6.1 years by income. As well as major tenants, other drawcard retailers include City Beach, Daiso, iPlay Australia, Rebel, Best & Less, Terry White Chemmart and JB Hi-Fi.

The Centre has a GLA of 51,972 sqm and occupies a landmark 9.4-hectare site, which is directly connected to Cairns Railway station.

“A 100 per cent interest in a Regional Shopping Centre with management rights is seldom offered to market, with only two sales recorded since 2015. Cairns Central is the best quality asset to hit the market in recent times against a backdrop of capital refocusing attention on ultra-defensive and dominant assets,” Mr MacGillivray said.

“Unlike other periods of economic uncertainty, there is no deficiency of capital in the market and quality assets located in strong locations like Cairns Central continue to source high demand,” he added.

“Cairns Central is one of Australia’s best performing shopping centres. With specialty occupancy costs of 12.3 per cent and productivity of $14,122 per sqm, the centre represents one of the most secure and defensive income streams in Australia,” Mr McVay said.

“Domestic visitor numbers to Tropical North Queensland are up 27% compared to pre-COVID and international travellers are only starting to rebound. As the gateway to Tropical North Queensland, Cairns is poised for a period of exciting growth and Cairns Central will be a major beneficiary of this,” he added.

The return of international tourism to Cairns is set to greatly benefit the centre, especially with the region’s position close to several World Heritage Listed areas including the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and Riversleigh. Cairns airport passenger movements have almost stabilised and are expected to exceed pre-COVID levels by 2026, highlighting the popularity of the region. On top of this, retail spending from tourism is forecast to increase by 10.8 per cent per annum until 2026.

Boasting the highest sales productivity and visitation in the region, Cairns Central was ranked as the number one centre in Queensland in the SCN ‘Big Guns’ 2020, based on Moving Annual Turnover (MAT) per sqm, and 14th in Australia. As well as this, major tenants and specialties are significantly outperforming the 2022 Urbis ‘All Regional’ Shopping Centres Benchmark on an $MAT per sqm basis by 31 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.

The Centre is situated in the heart of the Cairns CBD, over four-hours’ from the nearest competing Regional Shopping Centre. Cairns is one of Australia’s largest regional cities and is the gateway to the tropical far north Queensland region – the strongest growing tourism region in Queensland.

The total trade area population is 241,208 with a combined retail spending power of $3.6 billion (2022), with this set to grow by 3.5 per cent per annum to reach $6.9 billion by 2041.

The Australian retail sector is poised to draw significant interest from global investors, according to Colliers’ latest investment research insights, as instability across European and American markets forces a major shift towards the Asia Pacific region.

Cairns Central is for sale via an Expressions of Interest campaign closing 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEST) on Thursday, 20th April 2023.