Williamtown Aerospace Centre Sells for $54m

7 June 2021

The Williamtown Aerospace Centre, a leading edge defence industry cluster at the heart of the RAAF Base Williamtown – Newcastle Airport precinct, has been sold for $54m.

Williamtown Aerospace Centre sold fully leased to 15 tenants across 6 buildings, occupying a total of 7,557sqm of NLA on a 1.7ha site. The property also contains a 470 car multi deck car park.

The buildings generate approximately $3.3m pa in net rental providing the purchaser a 6.1% initial yield and a weighted average lease expiry of 3.9 years.

The Aerospace Centre was put to the market with Colliers in April 2021 with The Trust Company (on behalf of the Australian Unity Diversified Property Fund) exchanging & settling contracts in May 2021.

Colliers National Director, Peter Macadam said, “The interest level was excellent although not surprising given the covenant strength of the tenant book, and strategic location adjacent to the Newcastle Airport and RAAF Base Williamtown.  Our national middle markets database was the source of the majority of interest, which primarily came from listed and unlisted wholesale funds.”

The Vendor was a local syndicate including Hunter Land and James Garvey of Delta Associates.

Williamtown is destined to become a major precinct, with Newcastle Airport acquiring a 76ha parcel of land for $22m to accommodate the Astra Aerolab Business Technology Park, further enhancing the area as the pre-eminent space for innovation in aviation, defence and aerospace-related manufacturing, maintenance, research and education.  In May 2020, the area was named as a Special Activation precinct by the NSW Government providing a whole of government approach to the further development and expansion of the area.

At the time Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock says the announcement demonstrated the State Government’s support for the Hunter Region and ensured Williamtown is set to become the state’s premier location for defence, aerospace and innovation. “We’re very excited to be a key stakeholder in the Williamtown Special Activation Precinct which cements the region as a national and international defence and aerospace hub.

In May 2021 the Morrison Government announced they will upgrade the Newcastle Airport runway to accommodate longer range domestic and international passenger services as well as significantly increased large freight capabilities to benefit local exporters. Newcastle Airport estimates these improvements could create around 4,400 full-time jobs, deliver an additional 850,000 visitors to the region and add $12.7 billion to the local economy over the next 20 years.

The work will be done alongside RAAF’s scheduled runway maintenance at the Williamtown base, and demonstrates the Federal Governments commitment to the aviation sector, as part of its ongoing support to ensure the sector recovers and thrives.  

Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said at the time this was a great initiative that would lift the capability of Williamtown RAAF Base and open up new international markets for tourism and trade, boosting the region’s economy.  “This project will reduce cost and travel times for air-freight movements benefitting our primary producers and attract more Corporate, Defence and Aerospace to the Hunter.”

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