Westfield Group opens new center in Queensland (AU)

The Westfield Group announced that Queensland Premier Peter Beattie will today officially open the new Westfield Helensvale shopping center on the Gold Coast. The $180 million development is a 50:50 joint venture between Westfield Group and QIC Real Estate and is the first shopping center development between the two groups.

The project was completed several months ahead of schedule and is the second "greenfield" development for Westfield in Queensland in recent years.

Westfield Helensvale, located at the junction of the Pacific Motorway and Gold Coast Highway, has 42,000 m² of leasable area and 5 major retailers including Coles, Woolworths, K-Mart, Target and Aldi, and 150 specialty stores. It also features a Main Street precinct with outdoor dining, family restaurants, cafes and a hotel and has direct pedestrian access to the Helensvale railway station. The project generated more 2,000 jobs during construction, and 1,200 on completion.

Westfield managing director, Steven Lowy, said the new center would be a significant addition to the Group's Australian portfolio of 42 centers. "Helensvale's main trade area serves one of Australia's fastest-growing regions, with population forecast to grow at 5% per annum over the next five years," he said. "We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project which not only was completed ahead of schedule but has also exceeded the Group's original investment return estimates, forecast to deliver an immediate capital appreciation of over 25%."

Westfield Group's total investment in Queensland is more than $2 billion with interests in seven centres, five in Brisbane and two on the Gold Coast.

In addition Westfield is investing a further $180 million in the redevelopment of Westfield Chermside due for completion in late 2006, and has plans to begin the Stage Two redevelopment of Westfield North Lakes over the next 12 to 18 months.

Source: Westfield

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