DFO’s new lease of life

April 6, 2016

Nick Dalton | The Cairns Post                                                          

The new owners of the DFO Cairns shopping centre have started rolling out $10 million of upgrades over the next year.

Brisbane-based Sentinel Group settled on the 8.15ha property late last week and crews were quickly repairing potholes in the car park on Monday. The group plans to spend a quarter of what was paid for the centre – $39.7 million – to bring it back up to scratch. Managing director Warren Ebert told Businessweek they were well capitalised and had “plenty of money in the bank”. Mr Ebert said Sentinel had immediately started works with a priority fixing potholes in the carparks.

“We are not just filling in the potholes but digging up the road and putting down a new surface,” he said. “We are doing improvements to the bus drop-off area and also more provision for tourist buses.”

Mr Ebert said the company’s graphic designer was working on new signs and a mural for the eastern wall (Coles supermarket). He said the signs and the mural would make people take notice instead of driving past on Mulgrave Rd. Mr Ebert said the centre looked a bit dull and bland. “We are spending a fair bit of dough,” he said. “It’s looking a bit ordinary and tired.”

Mr Ebert said new tenants would be signed up, especially a national tenant for the vacant land behind the rear carpark, plus another fast-food outlet. Existing tenants include Coles, Hungry Jacks, Trade Secret, Bonds, EB Games, Ralph Lauren and Royal Doulton.

Upgrade Plans

  1. A national tenant for vacant land west of the centre.
  2. Airconditioning upgrades.
  3. New signs.
  4. A mural on the eastern wall.
  5. A focus on fresh food.
  6. Themed precincts, including fashion, fresh produce and leisure.
  7. A tourist lounge.
  8. Extensive carpark repairs.
  9. Other new tenants, including another food outlet.
  10. Bus stop improvements.
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