RTC in fashion with $300 million facelift

Written on the 5 March 2009

 

CONSTRUCTION is progressing on Robina Town Centre’s landmark multi-staged $300 million redevelopment as the remaining undeveloped prime land parcels surrounding the centre and a bunch of government-tenanted commercial properties are listed for sale.
Robina Land Corporation (RLC) chief executive Richard Wyatt says the sale would conclude the family group’s 30 year association with the Robina project.
The Robina landholdings – controlled by land owning entity RPA Properties – are valued at around $500 million, and comprise more than 30ha of fully serviced, fully zoned residential, commercial and mixed-use sites around the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) owned Robina Town Centre.
In addition the group owns debt-free leasehold commercial properties currently valued at around $50 million, and developments in progress worth a further $160 million.
 Wyatt says the decision to proceed with a sale process during a downturn stemmed from a number of factors.
“It might not seem a great time to sell, particularly since the land is unencumbered, we’re only 19 percent geared across the group, and we’re not under pressure from anyone to sell. But for the kind of parties who’ll be interested in Robina, this is the point on the cycle to get in,” he says.
“The important point is that we’re offering the option of settlement over a number of years, so if this option is taken up the actual up-front cash required to acquire a long term large scale development income could be relatively modest.
“When we took over management in 1996 the group had debts of $280 million and Robina Town Centre was in launch-phase meltdown. With that bolted onto the keel we navigated through the Asian currency crisis and two economic contractions, and since clearing all the debt five years ago we’ve undertaken a lot of pioneering development. All in all, my team’s been at the pointy end of $1.27 billion worth of development and sales, along with $100 million worth of infrastructure. “
“We’ve taken the project to where it is today, and now it’s definitely time for another organisation to realise the phenomenal potential that everyone knows Robina has.”
The centre, which commenced its expansion program in late 2007, is being significantly re-modelled to create three new malls linking with the existing food markets and transforming the lake into a vibrant entertainment and leisure precinct.
The centre celebrated its first significant milestone with the opening of its new fashion precinct in November last year, which included the multi-million dollar refurbishment of David Jones.
Centre manager Ian Ferguson says the response to the new mall has been very positive.
“Our new mall offers reflects the vibrancy and energy of the Gold Coast and provides fashion lovers with a superior mix of leading fashion houses to choose from,” says Ferguson.
 “These include iconic brands such as Guess, Mimco, Aldo, Carla Zampatti, Veronika Maine and Industrie. Since the launch of the new fashion mall just before Christmas, more new retailers have opened in the precinct, including Nine West and Sunglass Hut.
The fashion mall is 100 per cent leased and will be fully occupied next month, when the final two retailers open their doors for business, taking the total number of retailers in the precinct to 31. A next generation 10,000sq m Big W, a second Woolworths Supermarket, an air-conditioned 900 seat contemporary food court and more than 100 new fashion and specialty stores will also be opened next month.
 The third and final stage of the redevelopment is on track for completion towards the middle of this year and will deliver a landmark dining and entertainment precinct, to be known as The Promenade.
The lakeside precinct will feature a collection of restaurants and cafés, new children’s playgrounds and a new multi-million dollar cinema complex.

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