Centro deal dropped
THE PROPOSED $70 million sale of Hervey Bay's biggest shopping centre, Centro, has fallen over.
One of Australia's biggest property groups, Stockland, had approached the owners of Centro a few months ago with the substantial offer to take over the centre.
The sale was conditional on a due diligence report Stockland was carrying out on the property.
Part-owner of Centro, Leda Group, confirmed yesterday that Stockland had now withdrawn their offer.
Chairman of Leda, Bob Ells, said it was unfortunate for the Fraser Coast that the sale crashed because he was confident Stockland would have moved to develop the $70 million Centro second stage quickly.
“I believe the present depressed state of the local economy played a big part in them pulling out of the sale,” he said.
“Hervey Bay's boom has certainly flattened and they would have been concerned about investing in an area that couldn't support a major shopping precinct.
“It is now back on our plate and we will spend the next few months looking at the project before we make our decision.”
Mr Ells didn't project a positive view on the second stage going ahead, but he didn't completely rule it out.
“The real shame is that we were mucked around on this development for a number of years and it should have been built and completed in 2009,” he said.
“Now the residents of Hervey Bay may have to wait a few more years before they see the major shopping centre they have been crying out for.”
Mayor Mick Kruger (pictured)said he hoped the current owners would still move ahead with the second stage and that they had the opportunity until June next year under an infrustructure agreement that had been signed off on by council.
“I think it is fair to say that the exisiting Centro is looking a little tired in parts and it would be great to see a total make-over for the centre in line with a major redevelopment,” he said.
“We are committed to assisting in whatever way we can to make it happen.”