Singapore-listed Aims Apac Reit (AA Reit) is buying the Sydney head office of Australian retailer Woolworths for A$463.3m (€288m) from Inmark Asset Management.

Inmark, which manages assets for Korean institutions, bought the asset at Norwest Business Park for A$336.5m in 2016 from Mirvac.

“It will be our single largest investment to date,” George Wang, chairman of the manager, Aims Apac Reit Management, told IPE Real Assets.

AA Reit will fund the latest acquisition partly with debt and partly with capital raised from a recent S$250m perpetual securities issue.

Wang said, post-settlement, the acquisition would increase the firm’s portfolio from S$1.7bn (€1.1bn) to more than S$2.1bn, while its weighting to Australia would increase to 38%.

Wang said AA Reit’s ultimate intention was to develop into an Asia-Pacific vehicle, with Australia as its first destination outside Singapore.

“We like Australia because properties are freehold, compared to those in Singapore which are leasehold,” he said.

Wang said the Woolworths head office and data centre sat on nine hectares of land which could be developed further to unlock its full potential.

“It currently has  47,000sqm of buildings on-site, and potentially we can develop up to 180,000sqm of space on the land. So there is a lot of room to move and grow.”

Woolworths has been the sole occupant of the property since 2005. Its initial 26-year lease has four options to renew for a further period of five years.

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