Primewest grabs slice of Masters pie

Woolworths has finally revealed it will close its Masters stores on December 11.

Another high-profile backer has joined the consortium of wealthy families that bought the Masters business for a bargain $730 million from Woolworths and estranged partner, US hardware giant Lowe’s, with property manager Primewest, led by John Bond, investing in the deal.

The Primewest founder, well-known for taking investors into long-term plays and taking a more risk-averse approach than his father, Alan Bond, has built the group into one of the main players in the specialist sector.

Primewest has been active in the area for more than 20 years and manages more than $500 million in large-format retail assets across its $2 billion property portfolio, providing a good fit with the Home Consortium portfolio across Australia.

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The consortium agreed to buy Hydrox Holdings, the holding company for the Masters property and development business, in August. But the deal has been beset by legal wrangling between Woolworths and Lowe’s.

The buying group says it is well advanced with plans to convert most of the Masters into multi-tenant centres next year.

Primewest director John Bond.

Primewest director John Bond.

Home Consortium chairman David Di Pilla says Primewest will add significantly to the group through its knowledge and expertise as one of Australia’s leading property investment managers.

Primewest founding director David Schwartz will become a director of the Home Consortium, with Bond to serve as an alternative director.

We are excited to be part of this opportunity to reposition the portfolio into great retail shopping experiences

The Australian can reveal the board also includes Chemist Warehouse’s Mario Verrocchi, Arrium investors Di Pilla, Mary and Alex Shaw and Greg Hayes, and Spotlight’s Zac Fried, who separately controls a series of ex-Masters development sites.

Schwartz says Primewest has more than 20 years of experience in developing and managing large-format retail centres and the group expects significant upside in the sector.

Fallout: Bunnings moves quickly on Masters stores

“We are excited to be part of this opportunity to reposition the portfolio into great retail shopping experiences by adopting the philosophy of Right Tenant Right Space,” he says.

Di Pilla says the response from retailers has been positive.

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