The over-expectations sale of a prominent Civic property has highlighted the demand for city sites, the confidence in the Canberra retail market and the precinct outside the Canberra Centre.
Private health insurer HCF has sold its former premises and the former home of the popular Monkey Bar at 128 Bunda Street for $3.9 million, about $1 million more than it initially thought would be achieved.
Colliers Director of Capital Markets Matthew Winter said the unnamed purchaser is a local private retailer that already occupies a number of nearby CBD locations. They will be moving to this high-profile position along Civic’s key retail thoroughfare and adjacent to the Canberra Centre, the city’s largest retail offering.
The property was offered for sale as a vacant possession via Expressions of Interest in late 2021. It attracted interest from local and national retailers, food and beverage operators, institutional investors and private investors, and developers looking for a strategic long-term location.
But Mr Winter said the overwhelming interest from a large number of bidders was in the street frontage directly opposite the Canberra Centre and high traffic in the area.
“In addition to its location, what really set this property apart and attracted buyers is the range of options it presented,” he said.
Mr Winter said these included the flexibility to fully occupy, partially occupy, or lease as an investment, noting the attractive location to retailers.
“The separate entrances and multiple levels attracted a range of retail concepts,” he said.
It also offered long-term redevelopment potential.
The 394 sqm NLA building is zoned CZ1: Core Zone and features existing fit-out infrastructure, dual access and long-term landbank prospects.
Mr Winter said the campaign showcased strong confidence in the CBD retail market.
“There was wide-ranging interest from family businesses, local investors and national chains in the opportunity,” he said.
Sites and businesses outside the Canberra Centre, particularly in Garema Place, have not always prospered in recent years, but Mr Winter said the signs were bright.
“My view is that with a number of major brands relocating to Garema Place and with ACT Government upgrades to the surrounding precinct, there is evidence of optimism,” he said.
Mr Winter said prominent sites in Braddon and Kingston would also soon be coming on to the market.