Sentinel looks to expand FNQ presence as shopping centre bounces back

August 10, 2017

Sentinel Property Group is eyeing off further Far North investment as one of its flagship regional assets, DFO Cairns Shopping Centre, continues its renaissance.

Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said the company was in the process of buying a “Cairns City office building”, with the sale expected to settle in a matter of weeks.

“We’re very bullish about Cairns … we’re keen to buy more up here,” Mr Ebert told the Cairns Post.

“We like to go places where big companies don’t.”

It comes less than 18 months after the property investment firm, which also owns the building occupied by Big W in Atherton, snapped up DFO Cairns for a “bargain” $39.7 million.

Sentinel has since wasted no time in making its mark on the Westcourt shopping centre, which Mr Ebert said was languishing prior to the sale.

New lighting, signage and free Wi-Fi access for shoppers are among a string of minor improvements at the Mulgrave Rd complex.

Capital investments have included a “mall-straightening” project, while construction of a new outdoor dining precinct – featuring a 90-inch television screen – will ramp up in coming months.

“We certainly want to have it all up and running before the Commonwealth Games, so people can come and watch the action,” Mr Ebert said.

He said the centre was now well positioned to “reap the benefits” of the Far North’s resurgent tourism sector by delivering a “vibrant lifestyle destination for tourists and locals”.

“Foot traffic is up throughout the centre and new retailers continue to open, with more on the way,” he said.

“It has been hard work, but it shows that retail success is still possible despite all the naysayers.

“Retailing is not dead, it is changing, and you have to evolve and stay on the front foot to succeed.”

The purchase of DFO Cairns last year was dubbed a “landmark acquisition” for Sentinel, which now has a national asset portfolio valued at more than $1 billion.

Over the past 12 months a number of new retailers have opened or are opening at DFO Cairns, including:

  • Puma
  • Oakley
  • Escape 2 Outdoor & Travel
  • Catalog Clothing
  • Edge Clothing
  • Kaisercraft
  • Travelite

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