Economy

Billionaire swoops on another shopping centre property bargain

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Queensland billionaire John van Lieshout has swooped on another property bargain, snatching the Homezone retail outlet near Brisbane for $48.5 million.

Queensland billionaire John van Lieshout has swooped on another property bargain, snatching the Homezone retail outlet near Brisbane for $48.5 million.

Van Lieshout is the founder of the Super A-Mart chain of furniture stores, which dominate Queensland and northern New South Wales. The Dutch immigrant sold the furniture chain in May 2006 for $500 million, perfectly picking the top of the market.

“I got 13 times earnings,” he said at the time. “I think only once in a lifetime someone comes along and offers you that sort of money.”

In a canny move, he retained the property on which Super A-Mart’s stores, warehouses and headquarters stand.

Van Lieshout, who admitted to being worried about the bubble-like conditions Australia’s economic boom created, has continued to build on his property portfolio since selling Super A-Mart, but the downturn has sparked the bargain hunter in action.

In September, he spent $68 million buying the Centro Southport shopping centre, which was jointly owed by two Centro property trusts.

The latest purchase was completed on a yield of 7.8%. Van Lieshout’s property development arm, Unison Property Group, is expected to continue to expand the 16,500 square metre centre, which sits on 3.88 hectares.

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