Saturday, February 01, 2014

Abacus keen to add more factory outlets

Abacus and South African billionaire Nathan Kirsh bought Birkenhead Point shopping centre and marina for $174 million in 2010. Source: The Australian

FRANK Wolf's Abacus Property Group wants to roll out its factory outlet shopping centre model at the company's Birkenhead Point mall to other locations after turnover in the Sydney mall leapt 12 per cent in the first half of the 2013 financial year.

The acquisitive Abacus has been offered more than $1 billion worth of properties to buy, most of which are in secondary markets in recent months, said Dr Wolf, the company's managing director, who has flagged an interest in some of General Electric's Australian real estate assets that are still for sale.

But on the development front it has focused on its Birkenhead centre at Drummoyne in Sydney's inner west.

"We are looking at taking the outlet centre model and seeing if we can replicate it in other high traffic areas," Dr Wolf said.

"We can see there is a genuine role for Birkenhead in the market, it is something the customer wants, they want to feel that they are getting good value."

Before Abacus announced that it had purchased an office and retail property at 33 Queen Street in Brisbane for $34 million this week, Dr Wolf flagged that the group was looking at buying a property in the Queensland capital where the group was planning a "mini Birkenhead".

The group has so far spent $25m improving Birkenhead, planning to open a Nike outlet store, a Lee & Wrangler outlet shop and an Aldi shopping centre in the floor beneath the Coles supermarket, which would boost the centre's moving annual turnover by 10 per cent.