Stockland launches flagship mall

Stockland launches flagship mall

23 March 2018

Diversified property group Stockland has opened the doors this week to its largest ever retail redevelopment—a $414 million overhaul of its Green Hills centre in East Maitland, NSW, reports The Australian.

Stockland group executive and chief executive of commercial property, John Schroder, said the property developer has doubled the size of the existing mall to counter the online e-commerce threat.

The new centre has more than 220 retailers including Mecca Maxima Target, JB Hi-Fi, Harris Scarfe, Endota Spa, Tigerlily, Seed, Country Road, City Beach and Peter Alexanders.

A 6,000 square metre David Jones and a Neil Perry-inspired cafe will open shortly, followed by a two-level H&M store in May.

The 74,000 square metre complex was not just about shopping, said Mr Schroder. ”It’s about delivering an unparalleled lifestyle and retail experience for the community, where people can meet, eat, socialise, be entertained and just relax.”

”The diversity of the composition of the shopping centre is one of the future and will be more resilient to internet sales leakage,” he added.

Mr Schroder acknowledged the challenge from e-commerce but argued that Australian malls were adapting and did not have the same oversupply problems as malls in North America.

“There is no doubt there is a blurring of the digital and the physical,” he said. “We have to be acutely aware of ensuring that shopping centres are offering things that leverage off the digital environment and promote and accelerate customer experience in food and entertainment.”

Mr Schroder said that rising numbers of retail administration and store closures had not compromised rents in the new centre.

”The feasibility rents we pro-formed for the centre three years ago have been achieved,” he said. ”On average these are sustainable rents for the business. Our business has not worn much pain out of the administrations of the past year.”

To counter the rising electricity costs and to be sustainable, Stockland has invested $2.8 million into a 1.863mw solar project comprising 5,480 rooftop solar panels, forming part of the country’s largest property solar project, says The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Investing in technology like solar is not just good for the environment, it also makes good business sense,” said Mr Schroder.

“Several studies across the globe have demonstrated that green retail town centres are cheaper to operate and can result in increased customer spending,” he added.

Stockland has also installed Tesla Destination and Chargepoint charging stations for customers to charge their electric cars for free.

Stockland has been reworking its portfolio and, most notably, has Macquarie Capital selling a half-stake in its $800m Shellharbour centre.

It last year came close to locking down a partnership with TH Real Estate, which was chasing an interest in Stockland Cairns as well as the Green Hills asset.

Stockland has also engaged with the CPP Investment Board in the past, but its search has been given fresh impetus by chief executive Mark Steinert, who has ambitions in funds management.

Stockland has a further $513 million in retail developments underway across Australia, and the total value of its retail assets at December 31, 2017 was $7.3 billion.