Boom Time Sentinel

January 3, 2018

THE buyer of Townsville’s River Quays building is actively looking at other sites in the city to ride what it sees as the start of a recovery in the property market.

Brisbane-based property fund Sentinel settled on the purchase of the seven-level office tower in Tomlins Street for $28.6 million on December 21.

The vendor, the Nielson property group, acquired the building in 2003 for just under $11 million and, with a recent $8 million refurbishment, has been successful in attracting several new high-profile tenants including Indian infrastructure group Adani.

Telstra uses the building for its regional operations and for a national call centre, while Adani recently established the headquarters for its Carmichael coal and rail project there.

Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said he could see good upside in the property market in central and north Queensland on the back of a recovery in mining.

“We are still an active buyer and we would like to buy more,” Mr Ebert said.

“We love it up there. We have another property (purchase) in Townsville which will settle in February and we have offers in on another two (properties).”

Mr Ebert said he was comfortable that other activity was occurring in the regional economies based on Mackay and Townsville, with or without Adani, to give him the confidence to invest. He said there was little recognition that the economy in Mackay was strong, with a recent unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent, while a recovery in Townsville was coming, with $22 billion of major projects planned.

“I think there’s 10 years of boom times ahead for central and north Queensland,” Mr Ebert said.

“Townsville is Australia’s 13th largest city and is at the epicentre of more than $22 billion worth of projects within the infrastructure, sporting, mining, defence, health and manufacturing sectors.”

River Quays is part of Sentinel’s Regional Office Trust portfolio, along with other office buildings in Newcastle, Darwin, Brisbane, Port Macquarie and Cairns.

The seven-storey River Quays building, which was purchased through Quinlan Property Group’s John and Michael Quinlan and CBRE’s Peter Court and Mike Walsh, provides a net lettable area of 9414sq m and is leased to national and global tenants including the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Telstra, Adani and Aecom.

The $28.6 million sale price represented a passing yield of 9.19 per cent.

Established in 2010, Sentinel has a total national portfolio of more than 40 retail, industrial, office, land, tourism infrastructure and agribusiness assets, with a total value in excess of $1.1 billion.

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