New owners think big at shopping precinct

AFTER paying $18.3 million to buy the Orange Homemaker Centre its new owners have big plans to revamp the site with a string of national retailers set to open there before the end of the year.

The Brisbane-based property syndicate  Sentinel Property Group purchased the Mitchell Highway shopping precinct from AMP Capital this week and met with Orange City Council staff and mayor John Davis on Friday to flag its expansion plans.

Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said the 72,900 square metre corner site, that currently houses a number of businesses including Bunnings, Harvey Norman, BCF, Recollections and Autobarn, also has 10,430 square metres of vacant land providing a future development opportunity.

He said once operational, the expanded development would bring an additional $30 million turnover to the city and create at least 50 new jobs.

“It should be really good for the town,” he said.

Mr Ebert said the company was already in talks with a number of tenants.

“All the tenants that are coming aren’t currently in Orange,” he said.

“We’ve got plans to build 5000 square metres of shops with a construction budget of around $6 million to $8 million.

“They’ll all be homemaker businesses or bulky goods.”

While Mr Ebert ruled out Target, he wouldn’t detail what retailers were being courted but said they could be “complementary to the existing tenants”.

He said the semi-industrial area on the opposite side of the road was “as ugly as sin” and he hoped his development would be more appealing.

“We want to build something where tenants want to go,” he said.

“We’d like to have the tenants operational by the end of September.”

Cr Davis said he felt positive about the new ownership.

“I think it’s good for Orange to have this upgrade to the current businesses,” he said.

“They’re keen to make the development and the individual business a success so they get a good return on their investment.

“They also believe that Orange offers enormous opportunities for growth into the future.”

Sentinel currently owns 19 offices and industrial and retail properties throughout Australia.

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