By Bev Jordan
Hills Shire Council has purchased Castle Mall Shopping Centre at Castle Hill for $105 million. Settlement occurred on May 26th.
Managing Director of QIC Real Estate, Michael O’Brien said the property was highly sought after and resulted in a very competitive bidding response from about a dozen buyers, ranging from institutions, private investors, developers and syndicators.
Castle Mall, which is home to Castle Hill Medical Centre, TK Maxx, a food hall and over 30 speciality shops, adjoins other key Councilowned sites in the Castle Hill CBD, including the Terminus Street carpark and the former Castle Hill Day Surgery, which will soon be home to the University of Canberra.
Hills Shire Council says the site will remain a shopping centre for “the foreseeable future”.
Hills Shire Council General Manager Michael Edgar said: “The purchase of Castle Mall will not only help to boost Council’s annual income, but it also means as a landowner, we can carefully plan a future for the whole site, from Castle Mall down to the University.
“This puts Council and the community in a great position in the future, even though it will remain a community shopping centre for the foreseeable future,” Mr Edgar said.
“This will ultimately lead to better outcomes for the community, as Council will be placed in a position where it can deliver results that best suit the site and the needs of residents,” he added.
Mr Edgar said Hills Shire Council’s strategic investment portfolio provides a stream of revenue outside of rates and fees that fund vital community services such as Council’s Capital Works Program that delivers assets like new parks and playgrounds.
“Our financial management strategies have long included a strategic property portfolio that works to bridge funding gaps, ensuring Council has the resources to provide essential infrastructure and services,” Mr Edgar said.
“Strong financial management of funds over many years has enabled this Council to pay for big projects, like the renewal of Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre. Council used $55 million of its own accumulated reserves to provide a state-of-the-art aquatic centre with a gym, Olympic-sized swimming pool, children’s splash pad, warm water pool and more.
He said the purchase of Castle Mall, which was made possible from past investments, will help Council provide more for the community as the population grows and the demand for services also increases.
“It is essential that Council continues to look for revenue sources outside of rates and user charges to enhance our capacity to deliver for residents,” Mr Edgar said.
“This strategic purchase represents a wonderful investment for our residents and this community, both now and in the future,” he added.
Managing Director of QIC Real Estate, Michael O’Brien said: “QIC continues to be focused on activating its retail-anchored mixeduse town centre masterplan for Castle Towers. As Castle Mall does not form part of this masterplan, it was surplus to our needs.”