Brisbane CEO believes that Newcastle is ‘under-valued’
July 24, 2017
Newcastle is a land of untapped potential and it’s a matter of time before that becomes widely realised, a Brisbane property investor says.
Sentinel Property Group CEO Warren Ebert recently bought 11 Argyle Street, near Newcastle Crowne Plaza, and returned to the city last week, on a quest to find more lucrative investment opportunities.
He said major infrastructure projects such as light rail, the new CBD University of Newcastle campus and the region’s proximity to Sydney were all major attractions.
“I think Newcastle has a good couple of decades in front of it,” he said. “We like to buy in locations that we believe are under-valued that the mainstream investors aren’t targeting and we certainly felt that Newcastle filled that spot.”
Mr Ebert said he couldn’t understand why people would live in the far reaches of Western Sydney and commute through traffic or on slow public transport to jobs in the city when they could live in the Hunter for a little extra travel time.
“In Queensland, we are sick of hearing the problems people are having with housing in Sydney – why don’t you move to Newcastle where it’s a third of the price?” he said.
“You can go half an hour to the west and you’re in the beautiful Hunter Valley, you’re on the ocean.
“In Sydney, you’d still be sitting in traffic.”
Mr Ebert, whose company owns the 100-acre One Steel site on Industrial Drive at Mayfield, has previously owned three Hunter shopping complexes – two at Rutherford and one at Tanilba Bay – from which he said he had “done very well”.
He would not be drawn on immediate plans for the Argyle Street site, but said he could see it as a future residential development.
“In my view, if council and local businesses wanted to promote Newcastle more actively, I think there’s enormous opportunities there,” he said.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the city was undergoing “significant renewal” with more than $1 billion worth of projects in progress and plans for major events such as the Newcastle 500 Supercars race.
“I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Ebert’s contention that Newcastle is booming,” she said.
“[Council is] actively promoting Newcastle as a smart, liveable and sustainable city and this is paying off.
“While I can certainly understand Mr Ebert’s passion for Newcastle, I can advise him that council has the promotion of Newcastle front and centre of our Economic Development Strategy 2016-2019 and we work closely with the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group, Destination NSW and Tourism Hunter to promote the city and region, both nationally and internationally.”