Waurn Ponds expansion commences

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The $65 million expansion of the Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre in Geelong, which will create a regional shopping centre with 35,000m² of retail space as well as offices and services, has commenced.

A further 21,000m2 will be added to the existing shopping centre as part of the expansion, the majority of which has already been taken up by major retailers including Coles and Kmart, who join current retailers Target, Priceline, Reading Cinemas and Woolworths.

The expansion is being undertaken as part of a joint venture between Australian Unity Investment’s (AUI) Retail Property Fund and Coles Group Property Developments Limited.

Peter Lambden, AUI’s head of property and asset management, said the expanded shopping centre has been designed for, and will be well-positioned to, respond to the needs of the growing population of Greater Geelong which is forecast to grow by 35 per cent, reaching 298,000 in 2031*.

“The plans for the expansion mean the existing shopping centre will extend to the south onto adjacent land, allowing it to maintain its convenient single level format and linking to the existing centre via a high-quality, fashion focussed mall.

“The expansion will also provide an additional 700 free car parking spaces, which our research has shown is a key attraction for shoppers.

“We will take the necessary steps to ensure current tenants and shoppers are impacted as little as possible during the construction work,” Mr Lambden said.

Phase one of construction, which would see Coles and Kmart open for trading, is expected to be completed by mid-2014.

Australian Unity Investments is the funds management arm of Australian Unity – a national healthcare, financial services and retirement living organisation. A mutual organisation operating for over 170 years, Australian Unity provides services to some 620,000 Australians, including 320,000 members.

Australian Unity Investments offers a range of investment funds in domestic and international equities, fixed interest, mortgages and property. Its investment approach is to use its established in-house expertise in property and mortgages while also forming joint ventures and strategic alliances with boutique asset managers.

The property funds management business has over $1.6 billion in funds under management (as at 30 April 2013). Its unlisted property funds and syndicates own more than 63 properties in the healthcare, retail and commercial sectors, in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

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 * City of Greater Geelong population forecasts (www.id.com.au/forecast/geelong)

For more information please contact:

Peter Lambden – Phone: 03 8682 4546

7 May 2013