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GENERAL PROPERTY

Strong demand fuels Caltex to sell portfolio

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CALTEX Australia has put 25 service station and convenience store properties to the market, as it moves ahead with plans to offload at least 50 freehold sites across the country offering redevelopment potential as apartments.

The fuel giant flagged its intentions to begin selling off the assets in recent weeks as it booked a $54 million hit to its interim profit, and publicly stepped back from its earnings promise of $120 million and $150 million by 2024, given difficult economic conditions.

Of its 790 company-owned and operated petrol stations, 500 will be kept, and another 240 sites are yet to be reviewed. To keep pace with retail and convenience trends, Caltex has converted 63 of its stations have been converted in Foodary sites that also sell fresh foods.

Caltex has appointed CBRE and Stonebridge to market the 25 properties in the first tranche of its 50-property divestment. Of the first lot, 16 are in New South Wales, seven in Victoria, one in Western Australia, and one on the Gold Coast. They will be offered via expressions of interest with purchasers having options to buy individual sites, sites in any combination or the offering as a whole.

Locations include Surfers Paradise, Bondi, Mascot, Box Hill, and Perth and have been identified as excellent alternate use value given proximity to key roads and cities.

Caltex chief development officer, David Bridger, said the strategic release of the first tranche of the sale of 50 freehold metropolitan sites was aimed at the apartment and mixed use market.

“These sites are ideal for low to medium rise apartment development, located in attractive, high demand areas with strong growth opportunities.

“They also possess long-term development prospects which will appeal to a large number of prospective buyers who are looking at delivering a range of different end products into the inner metro markets.”

CBRE’s Mark Wizel, who is managing the campaign with colleague Julian White and Stonebridge’s Lincoln Blackledge, said the portfolio offered a timely opportunity for apartment, mixed use, retail, hotel and build-to-rent developers.

“These sites are being offered at a time of strong ongoing demand for low to medium rise apartments which are now in short supply, due to the lack of development site opportunities within metro areas, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

“The fact that the bulk of the sites are extremely well located to transport, schools and town centres make them ideal for apartments but for the same reasons they are also well suited to a range of other uses,” Wizel said.

He said market drivers such as the improving domestic residential clearance rate, low interest rates, and ongoing population growth would also be top of mind for prospective purchasers.

The properties are likely to attract interest from local developers as well as overseas developers looking to consolidate their position in the Australian market.