SYDNEY — Australia’s Scentre Group has entered into a joint venture to purchase department store chain David Jones’ 78-year-old Market Street store and expand its Westfield Sydney luxury retail precinct.
Scentre Group, the Sydney-based owner and operator of Westfield malls in Australia and New Zealand, said late Monday it had joined Melbourne-based Cbus Property to purchase the 23,142 square-foot David Jones Market Street site for 360 million Australian dollars or $275 million at current exchange. David Jones will use some funds from the sale to revamp its Sydney flagship on the other side of the road.
Subject to approvals, the redeveloped site is due to comprise approximately 107,639 square feet of Scentre Group-owned and operated luxury retail space. It will be integrated with Westfield Sydney, the company’s adjacent 1,807,379 square-foot mall.
Housing 361 boutiques, the latter already includes Sydney flagships for, among others, Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci and Ermenegildo Zegna. Australia is becoming a key shopping destination for Chinese tourists.
Cbus Property will convert the balance of the Market Street building into office space and a luxury residential tower.
David Jones will continue to occupy the site until 2019 under a lease agreement, providing a 4.5 percent annual return on the acquisition price according to Scentre Group.
“This transaction is a rare opportunity to significantly expand our flagship Westfield Sydney centre” said Scentre Group chief executive officer Peter Allen. “The 77 Market Street site will provide the opportunity for further luxury retail and high-quality food, which combined with our existing Westfield Sydney and David Jones’ planned $200 million investment into the adjacent Elizabeth Street store, will reinforce the precinct as Sydney’s pre-eminent luxury retail destination.”
Located directly opposite David Jones’ flagship Elizabeth Street store, the 13-story Market Street store currently houses DJs men’s wear, electrical and home wares departments and a food hall.
On Friday, David Jones’ parent, the South Africa-based Woolworths Holdings Ltd, announced plans to spend 200 million Australian dollars or $153 million refurbishing the Elizabeth Street store to create a 419,793 square-foot luxury department store spanning 11 levels, including a restaurant and expanded food hall helmed by Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry. Completion is expected in the second half of 2019.
The company also announced plans to relocate its corporate offices — which currently occupy two floors at Elizabeth Street – to Melbourne, to create a single Australasian head office there for WHL’s David Jones and Country Road Group businesses.