Sentinel Investing in Regional Growth Centres

April 20, 2018

Shortly before last Christmas, Sentinel completed the purchase of River Quays, a Townsville CBD commercial office building with major national and international tenants, for $28.6 million.

The acquisition of River Quays was the eighth addition to the Sentinel Regional Office Trust over a period of just 14 months, with the portfolio boasting a combined value of more than $230 million.

There have been some exciting developments in Townsville with the Townsville City Council signing an agreement with Singapore infrastructure corporation Surbana Jurong, which will result in more direct flights between Singapore and Townsville and closer ties in defence, technology and renewable energy. Surbana Jurong Private has invested more than $500 million buying Australian engineering companies and is looking at more acquisitions.

The potential on offer in regional Australia has also attracted interest from British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, who has acquired the Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia and Glencore’s Tahmoor coal mine in southern NSW.

Sentinel is seeking more investment opportunities in regional centres such as Townsville and Mackay, which was recently named ‘Australian Town of the Year’ for domestic travel by travel website Wotif.

Townsville is at the epicentre of more than $22 billion worth of projects within the infrastructure, sporting, mining, defence, health and manufacturing sectors. More broadly, North Queensland is benefitting from a surge in Chinese tourism, which this year is expected to overtake New Zealand as Australia’s number one tourist market.

The region’s resources sector will benefit from demand for energy resources, particularly coal, from the high growth economies of India, China and south-east Asian nations. Australia’s coal export values have hit a new peak of $56.5 billion in 2017, according to the latest trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Sentinel had also been active in Darwin, which has grown in regional strategic importance to the United States.

The incoming US Ambassador to Australia, Admiral Harry Harris, has praised Australia as one of America’s staunchest allies in the Asia-Pacific region, noting existing military cooperation at air force bases in the Northern Territory, joint naval exercises and the regular rotation of 1,500 marines through Darwin.

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