Melbourne’s Westfield Doncaster is set to become one of the largest shopping centres in the country after its $500 million expansion plans were given the green light by Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne.
The Scentre Group-owned Westfield will overtake its recently-revamped neighbour Eastland by more than 20,000sq m once the redevelopment is complete.
The approved masterplan includes a 14-storey tower atop a two-level retail podium, an expanded bus interchange and multi-storey car parking.
The makeover will add 43,000sq m of retail and 18,000sq m of commercial office space to Westfield Doncaster.
The planning minister said that the expansion will be a major boost for the Victorian economy.
“Melbourne is already the nation’s retail capital and this major expansion will cement its reputation for the years to come,” Wynne said.
While anemic consumer spending has put pressure on Australia’s shopping centre landlords, Victorians spent a record $78.9 billion on retail sales over the last year.
The expansion will make Westfield Doncaster one of the largest shopping centres in the country, only surpassed by Chadstone, Westfield Fountain Gate and Westfield Pitt Street.
Meanwhile, Scentre Group has partnered with Perth’s Perron Group to sell a 50 per cent stake in Westfield Burwood for $575 million.
The ASX-listed shopping mall giant announced the news in a note on Monday, saying the interest represented a 4.1 per cent premium to the centre’s $1.1 billion book value.
Scentre Group chief executive Peter Allen said the proceeds will be initially used to repay debt.
“The proceeds will provide the group with further capital to pursue our strategic objectives of creating long-term value for securityholders,” Allen said.
The transaction is expected to be dilutive to funds from operations per security by about 0.2 per cent per security over the full year.
Scentre’s forecast distribution remains unchanged at 22.60 cents per security.