The recent sale of Toowoomba’s Highfields Village Shopping Centre to Charter Hall marked a significant milestone for the property owners Lauder Pty Ltd, but also for DMA Partners with Managing Director Ryan Andersen recalling a long and meaningful history with Highfields owners the Stirling Family.


Charter Hall Retail REIT bought the property in suburban Highfields, 8km north of the Toowoomba CBD, for $41 million dollars, reflecting a capitalisation rate of six per cent.


DMA’s Ryan Andersen said, “The Stirling Family, and Mac in particular, have been long term and loyal clients of DMA and this is a terrific outcome for them.


“We started working together around eight years ago and have seen through a very deliberate strategy to develop the Highfields Village Shopping Centre to its full potential as an investment grade asset, and meet the demand of a growing residential catchment.”


Lauder Managing Director Mac Stirling said, “We appointed DMA just after the GFC had hit and there was significant uncertainty in the market and particularly with our funder.


“We found that DMA was the only firm of their kind that could provide true end-to-end development services.


“The market is full of project managers, but DMA brought the whole package, from upfront commercial analysis and feasibility through to delivery.


“Their professionalism, experience and knowledge of development have directly contributed to delivering an institutional grade asset and to achieving such a strong result for Lauder.”


DMA supported the sales agents JLL in the sale due diligence process to ensure a seamless process.


Anchored by a Woolworths supermarket, the centre has a gross floor area of 10,907sq m and sits on 4ha of land in a growing residential area. It also features 20 specialty tenancies and several pad sites.


Ryan said, “Highfields has special significance for me personally because it was the first major project we took on after starting DMA.


“This project underpinned our business for the first couple of years and really gave us an opportunity to demonstrate the full range of our services and also how our input would translate to significantly increased profits and improved asset value.


“And I think it is also a symbol of just what can be achieved when client and advisor work really closely and openly.


“With Mac’s foresight and his confidence in our strategic development and leasing approach, we’ve been able to strengthen Highfields’ market position and help to achieve the capitalisation rate at the time of sale,“ Ryan said.


Mr Stirling said, “The result with Highfields just shows that with the right development strategy and a long-term approach, regional property can be a winner.


“We really had two objectives with the Highfields Village Shopping Centre – to develop a retail property as an effective investment vehicle but also to bring benefit to the local community and I am really pleased to say that Highfields has done that.”