Melbourne-based developer Land Capital is set to swoop on a Woolworths-owned town centre development site in a deal worth just over $50 million.
The supermarket giant paid just over $28 million for the 24.9 hectare site site on the corner of Plenty and Bridge Inn Roads in Mernda in Melbourne’s north eastern suburbs in 2010 and has lodged an application with the Whittlesea City Council for a mixed-use development that will include a new full-line supermarket and shops adjacent to a proposed new metro railway station.
While the site has yet to transact it understood Land Capital has paid a deposit and will shortly sign a contract to acquire it following the completion of a due diligence process.
Land Capital director Samir Latif declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Woolworths said it was also unable to comment.
Land Capital is co-owned by Mr Latif and architect Nick Mackovski and has a number of housing sub-divisions and apartment projects under development across Melbourne. A third director of Land Capital is Ibrahim Lari the chairman of Abu Dhabi-based Sibca, which calls it the “UAE’s leading fire safety, security, building management and ELV systems solutions provider”.
According to its website, Land Capital has a portfolio worth over $350 million comprising apartment buildings, mixed-use projects and medium scale land subdivisions in the Northern and Western corridors of Melbourne.
“Land Capital believes that investing directly into large parcels of land to be developed into mixed use of residential, child care, medical and retail is a sure way of not only preserving but growing the capital while adding value to the community,” its website says.
Woolworths has committed to leasing back the supermarket within the project which will also include a large residential component as well as speciality shops and offices.
The first stage of the project includes the Woolworths supermarket and is development-ready following an amendment to the Mernda Town Centre Development Plan approved by the City of Whittlesea in July 2017.
The Mernda Town Centre was offered for sale by CBRE’s Mark Wizel, Justin Dowers, Julian White and Lewis Tong, all of whom declined to comment.
The sale by Woolworths is part of a major real estate divestment by the supermarket group which is battling a resurgent Coles for dominance of the market.
Both are selling both existing supermarkets and shopping centres as well as new developments to funnel the proceeds into improving their customer offering and supply chains, where they are spending billions on state-of-the-art automated warehouses.