New owners of The Palms say New Zealand’s economy is going in the right direction.
The Palms shopping mall in Christchurch has been sold for $88.8 million, but it will be business as usual for shoppers.
The mall, in the suburb of Shirley, has been sold by Australia-based AMP Capital to another Australian investor, the DiMauro Group.
The Palms has about 100 tenants, including a Countdown supermarket, a Farmers department store, and a 1000 square metre Chemist Warehouse, which opened recently in premises vacated by KMart.
It also houses a Reading Cinemas multiplex cinema and a restaurant and bar precinct, and has parking for 1450 cars.
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It has an annual turnover of more than $200m.
The DiMauro Group is a family-owned company based in Adelaide which owns over A$1 billion (S1.04b) worth of commercial property.
Its portfolio already includes two shopping malls in New Zealand – North City in Porirua, near Wellington, and West City in Henderson, Auckland.
Nick DiMauro, head of the DiMauro Group, has featured on Australian rich lists after working his way up from being a plumber to being a major property owner.
He has previously attributed his interest in New Zealand property investment to the absence of stamp duty, a tax levied on property sales in many countries.
He said they were pleased with the latest purchase.
“We were looking to expand our New Zealand portfolio. Christchurch and The Palms seemed like a good fit for us, so we made the acquisition,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in New Zealand economy. I think it’s going the right way.”
DiMauro said they were not considering making any changes to the mall or its tenant line-up, and were looking forward to working with the local community.
AMP Capital had owned The Palms since 2007, when it bought the mall from Christchurch businessmen and Hallenstein Glassons directors Tim Glasson and Warren Bell.
In the meantime it has purchased additional land surrounding the property.
The mall was originally developed in the 1990s by Christchurch brothers Max and Glen Percasky, who own the Homebase shopping centre north of The Palms.
AMP Capital owns commercial properties throughout New Zealand and Australia. It has about 25 shopping centres including Botany Town Centre in Auckland and Merivale Mall in Christchurch.