LaSalle acquires stake in Aussie mall for A$738m

LaSalle Investment Management has partnered with The Westfield Group to redevelop the Westfield Doncaster mall in Victoria, Australia.

Global real estate firm LaSalle Investment Management has agreed to acquire a 50 percent interest in the Westfield Doncaster mall in Victoria, Australia for A$738 million ($606 million, €443 million).

LaSalle is acquiring the stake from Australian REIT The Westfield Group. Together the groups are committing A$1.48 billion to redevelop the property. The investment comes out of LaSalle’s Asia Property Fund, an open-ended, pan-Asian vehicle looking to invest in up to US$5 billion in assets.

The retail property will be redeveloped to a three-level center with an area of approximately 120,000 square meters. The center will consist of retailers such as the Myer and David Jones department stores; Coles and Safeway supermarkets; Big W and Kmart discount department stores; and a Village Cinemas movie theater. The center will also feature a new food court and 400 specialty stores and entertainment outlets.

“Westfield Doncaster will reap the benefits of an attractive catchment area with strong growth prospects,” Andrew Heithersay, regional director of LaSalle, said in a statement. “Given Westfield’s position as the premier shopping center group in the region, we’re delighted to partner with them on this blue-chip investment for the Asia Property Fund.”

Westfield will continue to handle the development and construction of Doncaster. The group will also act as the center’s property, leasing and development manager.

“We are pleased to be able to announce the formation of a new joint venture with LaSalle Investment Management on one of the prime centers in the group’s Australian portfolio,” Steven Lowy, managing director of Westfield, said in the statement. “Westfield Doncaster is set to become our flagship center in Victoria and is reflective of the landmark destinations which the group is creating through innovative development globally.”
Westfield currently has investment interests in 119 shopping centers in four countries, with a total value of more than A$60 billion.

The center is set to be completed by the end of 2008.