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Lester Group - Investor News
30 April 2020

Perth Megaplex sells for $58m despite virus (Australian Financial Review 29 April 2020)

Undeterred by COVID-19, West Australian investor and developer Lester Group has snapped up a large format retail property on the outskirts of Perth for $58 million in an off-market transaction.
 
Midland Megaplex, a 5-hectare property at 7 Clayton Street in northeast Perth, was sold by the high net worth Humich family on a yield of 6.5 per cent.
 
The property is leased to 13 tenants, including WA supermarket chain Spudshed, Chemist Warehouse, Spotlight, Fantastic Furniture, Anaconda and Toyworld, and has a weighted average lease expiry of eight years.
 
The centre has a net lettable area of 20,913sq m and parking for 836 cars. It is located in the centre of Midland's developing large format retail precinct with Western Australia’s largest Bunnings store under construction across the road.
 
Wayne Lawrence of Colliers International, who brokered the deal, said it was the biggest sale of a large format retail centre in Australia this year.
 
"The buyers were very happy with the property because a lot of the retailers in this centre are still trading quite well despite COVID-19," Mr Lawrence said.
 
"But [this sale] is an anomaly... until investors get a clear sense of what the fallout of the virus will be and until after the dust has settled and that's not likely to be for another six months."
 
"There is still appetite for non-discretionary assets like your neighbourhood centres with a good anchor tenant and no more than five or six speciality shops, it's just that a lot of the retail investors have adopted a wait-and-see approach to assess where the market and values are."
 
Russell Lester, director of Lester Group, which has a portfolio worth more than $200 million, said the property was offered to a new syndicate, with a $34 million capital raising having been completed in a week.
 
“The capital raising was quickly oversubscribed, demonstrating a strong appetite by our investors for such an opportunity. The eight-year investment term offers solid income and capital growth from a diverse mix of tenants,” Mr Lester said.
 
“The tenants were trading well before COVID-19 and although the next 12 months will not be easy trading for any retailer, we will actively work to ensure a fair and equitable outcome for both tenants and investors.”
 
Mr Lester said the group was looking out for more opportunities on both the east and west coasts.
 
“We actively look for assets across Australia, seeking the best value, and building a diversified property portfolio to protect and grow value in all economic environments. Right now, the west coast appears to offer some prime opportunities.”


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The Lester Prize is open for entries
Submissions are now open for both adult and youth categories for WA’s premier portrait prize—The Lester Prize. This award is one of the nation’s most recognised and prestigious art prizes and is now in its fourteenth year.
 
The prize pool available to professional, emerging and young artists is worth over $75,000. More than 500 artists from across Australia will be vying for The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges) with the winner taking home $50,000 cash. Other prizes include the $10,000 Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers) and the $7,500 People’s Choice Prize kindly donated by the Baldock Family (selected by the general public).
 
The Youth Portraiture Prize for high school students across Australia continues to expand with over 200 student entries expected this year.
 
The adult finalists’ works will be open to the public once again at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) in the Centenary Galleries from 31 October – 30 November 2020, with the winner announced on 30 October 2020.
 
The Prize has had over 4,800 artwork entries submitted and showcased more than 1,300 finalists from across Australia since its inception. Over the last 13 years, more than 3.2 million visitors have attended its exhibition season events and activities.
 
“We are mindful that our community is currently facing a huge health, social and economic upheaval. It is at times like this that we turn to the Arts to find meaning and beauty. When we come through this crisis—it will be more important than ever that we encourage and support our artists”, said Anne Silberstein, Executive Director from The Lester Prize. John Langoulant, The Lester Inc Chair, further noted “creative industries matter to the economy and represent an investment in our quality of life. Arts and culture provide people from all walks of life an opportunity to expand social circles, develop skills and increase physical activity. They help us to explore and interpret stories, share discoveries and learn more about the world.”
 
New this year, due to physical distancing restrictions that are currently in place, works can be created from a photograph instead of from “life” - as long as the photograph has been approved by the subject. Artists from across Australia are invited to submit portraits of an Australian, or Australians, that they respect or admire, or a self-portrait. Full Terms & Conditions are available at www.lesterprize.com.
 

Lester Group - Covid-19 Update
As the Covid-19 crisis unfolds, we would like to reassure you that Lester Group are working hard to maintain a business as usual approach in the management of its property investments and developments.
 
Although our office is physically closed, we are still open for business and all staff are working from home. We encourage you to communicate with your Lester Group contact, by phone, email or favourite video conferencing app, as and when required.

We look forward to working through this uncertain period and celebrating our collective success on the other side, together.

We will continue to provide you with relevant information as necessary.

Stay well, stay safe and carry on.

Kind regards
Lester Group

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