Stockland defends sale of its Vincentia shopping centre site

STOCKLAND’S sale of its Vincentia retail development is an example of smart business practice and not a case of the company struggling in tough economic times, a company spokesperson said.

The company this week announced its intention to sell four shopping centre sites, including the one in Vincentia, for a total consideration of $44 million to a private development group.

The NSW Government had only recently signed off the first stage of the multi-million dollar Vincentia retail development, which will consist of two supermarkets and 40 specialist shops.

A Stockland spokesperson said the company was taking the opportunity to sell the asset at a profit, which was normal and sensible business procedure.

Stockland chief executive officer commercial property John Schroder said the sales demonstrated the company’s commitment to actively manage its portfolio.

“We recognise that market conditions in Australia are getting tougher,” Mr Schroder said.

“Given the increasing cost and scarcity of capital, selling these assets allows us to more prudently allocate our resources, with the proceeds being used to pay down debt.”

In December, Stockland announced it had achieved $211.1 million worth of commercial property asset sales since June 30, 2008.

The Australian Financial Review reported the four retail development sites had been sold to private development firm RIM Property Group for $44 million.

Chairman of the Vincentia Resident and Ratepayers Association Brian Saunders was keeping an eye on the latest Stockland developments.

Mr Saunders said the association would welcome the chance to speak with the new owners.

He was not surprised the Vincentia site had been sold, despite the company’s denials, after Stockland had sold assets in Batemans Bay.

“We had a meeting with Stockland last year and asked if the company was going to sell Vincentia and they said no,” he said

The association wants to make sure all the stringent development guidelines are observed.

Mr Saunders said the association was happy with the concept plan and did not want to see it changed.

The group is more accepting of the retail section than the 600-plus residential development.

“People will welcome the better shopping and better facilities,” he said

One of the major infrastructure components is a library.

The sale has its conditions.

The settlement of the overall sale is conditional upon Stockland securing development approvals and executed agreements for leases with major tenants at Vincentia.

Mr Saunders wants the current shopping centre at Vincentia, which is owned by Stockland, to remain.

He said people with transport issues might not be able to do their shopping if they had to go to the Crossroads site.

The Stockland spokesperson would not comment on the current Vincentia shopping centre.