GPT Group and Blackwall are the latest ASX-listed companies to expand their footprints in the co-working office space, a sector identified as an integral part of an organisation’s workplace strategy.
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GPT launched Space&Co in May 2014, while Dexus Property offered a separate site under the Dexus Place banner in May 2015, and is also on the expansion path.

Peter Black, head of workplace solutions at Colliers International, says the biggest shift he sees in coming years is that flexible workspace will become a key component of many companies’ workplace and real estate strategies, for occupiers and building owners.

“Flexible workspace is not just for millennial freelancers or tech start-ups any more. Large, multinational companies are increasingly taking on space at flexible workspace operators or integrating shared working spaces into their own environments,” Mr Black said.

“In 2016, there were about 11,000 co-working locations around the world. But this figure is expected to more than double to 26,000 by 2020. By comparison, there are approximately 24,000 Starbucks locations worldwide.”

Knight Frank analyst Kimberley Paterson says Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have 239 co-working spaces in total, occupying 116,955 sq m, and Melbourne accounts for 56 per cent of that total.

GPT’s latest deal is for its Space&Co which opened another level at its Melbourne Central office in July. The flexible workspace group has taken level 12 in the building and targeted it towards teams of four or more staff.

The new space had already achieved occupancy around 70 per cent, GPT’s national director of flexible working Daniel Stiffe said. About half of the usage was from existing tenants in the building, he said.

Space&Co also has space in another GPT-owned building at 530 Collins Street. There are plans to open in two other locations in Melbourne, Mr Stiffe said.

GPT also confirmed plans to expand its venue at 580 George Street, Sydney, in response to strong demand. The Space&Co will be boosted from 300 sq m to 700 sq m, with the new space created by one of the world’s leading designers of co-working spaces, architectural firm BVN.

The expanded venue will accommodate an extra 50-plus members and include dedicated project and team rooms and collaborative working areas.

GPT’s head of office & logistics Matthew Faddy said the venue had benefited from being in Sydney CBD’s expanding mid-town area, which has emerged as a hub for international technology and creative firms: “580 George Street includes the best amenities and is arguably the most convenient location for any co-working space in Sydney..

“Aside from the appeal of its close proximity to Town Hall Station, Space&Co had seen strong demand from independent professionals and small business operators but also existing GPT tenants looking for temporary flexible workspace.”

Listed Blackwall, which reported an after-tax profit of $3.6 million for 2017, up 22 per cent, on the previous year, and whose result also featured a significant increase in gross revenue, up $6.6 million to $17.4 million, has increased its WOTSO space at its office at 55 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Pyrmont, after the departure of Fox Sports.

With 102 new desks, plus studio rooms and office suites, the area sees the total WOTSO tenancy at Pyrmont grow to more than 1600 sq m.

Blackwall director of property Jess Glew said the decision to move and expand the co-working space at Pyrmont was because demand was outstripping supply in its original configuration.

WeWork is also on the march, with three Sydney sites and now about 6000 sq m in Collins Street, Melbourne. Another big co-working company in Melbourne is Hub Australia.

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Ingenia Communities will benefit from the rise in grey nomads selling the family home and setting off around the county, before settling into low maintenance and affordable accommodation.

Having built up its development pipeline with caravan parks and community villages, Ingenia now has 12 projects under way and can create a further 2473 new homes. It has further increased its settlements target to 260-280 in 2018 and 350-plus in 2019.

The group warned of likely increased regulatory requirement for retirement villages, but expected this to have limited impact on lifestyle communities.

For the year, the group reported an underlying profit of $23.5 million, an increase of 16.3 per cent on the previous financial year.

The statutory profit of $26.4 million was up 8.6 per cent on the year before, but that was affected by the $7.6 million loss recorded on the sale of most of the group’s deferred management fund (DMF) retirement assets in October 2016. The interim dividend of 5.1?? will be paid on September 13.

Ingenia operates in the holiday and seniors living sector and says housing affordability and ageing population will drive long-term core demand. A key risk would be a slowdown in residential housing but not apartments. It previously was the ING Real Estate Community Living Group.

Ingenia chief executive Simon Owen said the group was positioned to benefit from demand from “travelling seniors and families for quality holiday accommodation with our portfolio now offering over 790,000 ‘room nights’ per annum along Australia’s east coast”.

He said tourism and mixed-use communities continued to be an important part of Ingenia’s portfolio, with more than $200 million committed to expanding the portfolio over the past year.

“As the competition for lifestyle communities intensifies, buoyed by interest from offshore players, and capitalisation rates compress, we see a competitive advantage in having a business model that spans both holiday and lifestyle communities, with significant embedded growth through our development pipeline.”

Brokers were mixed on the result, with Petra Securities’ Jonathan Kriska saying the positive was the Garden Villages division, which continues to be a solid performer, but the Settlers DMF division profit fell on the disposal of assets.

“Overall, the 3 per cent earnings per security growth and minimal net tangible asset growth is just not good enough for a company which has had the tailwinds of cheap debt, attractive acquisition spreads, growing development profits, and an in-favour sector,” Mr Kriska said.

Over the next 14 months, Mr Owen said, the group was set to launch eight new or expansion development projects, which supports its aspiration to become the clear lifestyle community market leader.

The expected increase in sales and addition of new assets and rental contracts will underpin earnings before interest and tax guidance, being in the range of $42-46 million for the 2018 year,” Mr Owen said.

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Costco, the original international bulk goods discounter to enter Australia, has opened its ninth national store and will look to increase its online presence to match its physical space as it joins other retailers in waiting for the arrival of Amazon.
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Commanding a large area, Costco has been a sought after tenant. For its third store in Sydney it has opted for a site within the large-format retail precinct at Sydney Business Park, Marsden Park. The store will be the largest tenant with 13,575 square metres, within the 256-hectare precinct in the north-west.

Costco Wholesale Australia managing director Patrick Noone has been with Costco for 26 years and said the company was “very pleased to have found such an ideal site for its latest store at Sydney Business Park”.

It is expected the arrival of Amazon will see his group and others boost their online operations to complement the bricks and mortar outlets.

Cushman & Wakefield national director John Sears said bigger retailers have generally had an advantage over smaller ones, using their size to reduce costs and increase product range.

“While global retailers such as Zara and H&M have had an impact on the Australian retail landscape, an even larger merchant, Amazon, is likely to cause further disruption. When measured by market capitalisation, Amazon is the largest retailer in the US, at a market capitalisation of $US475 billion, around twice the size of the next biggest, WalMart with Costco worth $US79.20 billion.

“The arrival of Amazon will further shake up the Australia retail sector and should support the expansion of small online traders,” Mr Sears said.

Having held his current role since the retailer launched in Australia around 10 years ago, Mr Noone said Costco’s Marsden Park store opening marks another “significant milestone” for the company, signalling its continued growth in the Australian market.

Sydney Business Park project manager Owen Walsh said Costco joins a growing business and retail community in Marsden Park. He said Sydney Business Park has secured about $600 million in investment to date, on track as part of the broader $3 billion project.

“Costco Wholesale Australia is a welcome addition to Sydney Business Park, which is fast becoming a major shopping and warehouse distribution/ logistics destination for the region,” Mr Walsh said.

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BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has pledged that the revitalised miner’s plans would deliver “shareholder returns for decades to come”, acknowledging that poor investment decisions had come at a cost.
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Mr Mackenzie made the comments as BHP delivered a $US6.73 billion ($8.5 billion) full year underlying profit, revealed it would pay $US4.4 billion in dividends for the year – well above its minimum payout commitment – and confirmed it planned to sell its controversial onshore US shale assets.

BHP’s underlying profit, which was propelled by higher returns from its key commodity divisions, was about 5?? times greater than last year’s $US1.2 billion result.

Coal and iron ore were stand-out performers, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from coal up a massive 496 per cent to $US3.8 billion, and iron ore EBITDA up 62 per cent to $US9.1 billion.

Mr Mackenzie conceded BHP’s entry into the onshore US shale industry was “poorly timed, we paid too much” for the assets.

“We would like to get on with the exit from shale,” he said, adding that BHP would “be patient to make sure we restore value for shareholders”.

The preferred method to dispose of the “non-core” US shale investment was via a small number of trade sales, although other options would be considered.

“We’ll look at everything in order to decide what is the right way through this,” he said.

BHP’s shale announcement was welcomed by analysts and investors.

“We’ve always been of the view that it’s not a core BHP business and it’s not a tier-one asset. [And] it’s a declining return business,” Citi analyst Clarke Wilkins said.

“It was poorly timed, they paid too much and then they went too hard when they acquired it.”

Matthew Haupt, portfolio manager at Wilson Asset Management, a BHP shareholder, welcomed the shale announcement.

“I think that’s a big relief for all shareholders,” he said.

“It’s been a terrible investment and I think the market is relieved that they can just focus on their tier-one assets now.”

Mr Mackenzie said in 2018 financial year BHP would generate strong free cash flow, while in the medium to longer term it would strengthen its balance sheet and make significant productivity gains.

“We’ll grow value and returns, which remain at the heart of what we do every day. Our plan is a plan that delivers shareholder returns for decades to come,” he said.

BHP declared a final dividend of 43 US cents per share, payable on September 26, for a full-year payout of 83 US cents per share. The final dividend is more than triple last year’s final dividend. BHP has about 600,000 retail shareholders.

It had been a “rough time for shareholders, they’ve been very patient with us. And I think it’s very appropriate that when we’re able to do so, we reward them,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“We actually have biased our free cash flow towards the pay down of debt, but we thought we should keep a little bit back to put a little bit more juice into the dividend this time, and frankly to maintain a reasonable yield on the stock.”

The market reacted positively to BHP’s news, with the stock climbing 28?? to $25.98.

The decision to exit US shale comes after a comprehensive review of BHP’s portfolio, and amid loud calls from activist investor Elliott Management for an overhaul of the miner, including a full exit from onshore US shale.

BHP also reiterated its position on its Canadian potash project, Jansen, revealing it would not move beyond preliminary works unless it passed strict capital allocation tests.

“We are very happy that we have multiple value-creating options, which span both commodities and time frames. The Jansen project is one of those options … we have a large resource, which has the potential to provide a low-cost, long-life, expandable mine,” BHP chief financial officer Peter Beaven said.

“While timing is uncertain, we have no doubt that the world will need new potash supply. And, when it does, we believe Jansen is best placed. But, Jansen will not proceed unless it passes our strict capital allocation tests.”

BHP reportedly paid about $US20.6 billion for two major US onshore acquisitions about six years ago, and has spent billions more on its US shale assets in the years since. But in its fiscal 2016 results, it included an impairment charge of $US4.9 billion against the value of its onshore US shale assets.

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FFA – PICTURED Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop and FFA chairman Steven Lowy media conference about the recent bans against troubling fans at games. Thursday 3rd December 2015. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH SPORT 151203More than 120 Australian leaders of big business, sporting organisations, universities and government agencies have made a personal commitment to addressing the gender pay gap with a new focus on jobs for which the pay scales tip in favour of men.
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The 122 business leaders that form the Male Champions of Change coalition have signed a new agreement to ensure equal pay for equal work in like-for-like roles within their organisations and not just across sectors.

The signatories include Qantas chief Alan Joyce, Telstra chief Andrew Penn, Lendlease chief Steve McCann, Goldman Sachs chief Simon Rothery???, Unilever Australia/New Zealand chairman and CEO Clive Stiff, CBA managing director Ian Narev, Deloitte Australia CEO Cindy Hook, Football Australia CEO David Gallop, ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, Australian Stock Exchange CEO Dominic Stevens, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin, Army chief Angus Campbell, Ten Network CEO Paul Anderson, Fujitsu CEO Mike Foster, Johnson and Johnson managing director Gavin Fox-Smith and CSIRO chief Larry Marshall.

Vice-chancellors from La Trobe University, the University of Sydney and Australian National University are also among signatories.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s measure of the average gender pay gap is at 15.3 per cent, reflecting the overall position of women in the workforce.

However, it does not measure differences between men and women in like-for-like roles, which the Champions of Change coalition have now agreed to do. This means companies are not required to measure differences in pay between like-for-like roles. They are only required to compare male and female pay rates within an organisation as a whole.

“They are not looking at two engineers sitting side by side, one’s a boy and one’s a girl and they are paid differently,” Ernst and Young partner Rohan Connors said.

“We are giving our organisations a free pass to excuse gender inequality and so we wanted to come up with a better way of doing it.”

Mr Connors, who compiled the Champions of Change strategy, said organisation leaders have now committed to measuring differences in pay between men and women doing the same jobs.

The report recommends strategies for reducing like-for-like pay gaps, addressing the timing and frequency of gender pay gap reviews and performance reviews and other processes.

Libby Lyons, director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, said addressing the national gender pay gap “requires the effort of our whole community”.

“Employers must step up and play their part,” she said.

“All leaders have the power to analyse their data and take action on pay gaps within their organisations.”

The signatories to the Closing the Gender Pay Gap report have invited other Australian leaders to join them.

Lendlease managing director Steve McCann, a signatory to the report, said there was no excuse for men to be paid more than women for work that has “the same accountability, breadth and difficulty, and for which they have comparable performance, competence and experience”.

“We’ve learned that gender-based pay gaps can be both common and insidious – particularly in historically male-dominated sectors,” he said.

“Having regular, scrutinised and actioned reporting is a game-changer – real-time access to relevant data becomes hard to ignore and demands action.”

Elizabeth Broderick, the founder and chair of Male Champions of Change, said employment leaders could help accelerate greater gender equality.

“This is a joint and concerted effort to help make unjustifiable pay differences in like-for-like roles for men and women a matter of history in Australia,” she said.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 18: New Spotless CEO Martin Sheppard poses for a portrait on August 18, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Sheppard was a former partner at KPMG. (Photo by Wayne Taylor/Fairfax Media) MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 18: New Spotless CEO Martin Sheppard poses for a portrait on August 18, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Sheppard was a former partner at KPMG. (Photo by Wayne Taylor/Fairfax Media)
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If you’re not one for conspiracy theories, you won’t see anything untoward in the fact that Spotless chief executive, Martin Sheppard, stepped down with immediate effect on Tuesday – just two days before the rather spotty cleaning services group delivers what should be its last full-year result as a listed company.

With Grant Fenn’s Downer EDI all but in control of Spotless, there isn’t much reason to hang around, but given its history of profit downgrade disasters you wouldn’t bet against some surprises.

Spotless says there won’t even be a market briefing with the results release. The market is expected to be focused on the Downer EDI mothership, which reports its results next Tuesday.

The takeover party is all but over with Sheppard’s chief operating officer, Dana Nelson, now at the helm with Downer’s blessings.

CBD has been told to take Nelson’s promotion as a sign that Downer is happy with Sheppard’s strategy, but even happier to work with a cleanskin unaffected by the hostile takeover battle.

As well as joining the modest ranks of female CEOs on the ASX, Nelson picks up a $600,000 pay rise to $1.1 million – handy given the $250,000 two-year retention bonus got paid out on June 30.

CBD has been told to expect to see details of Sheppard’s final exit package in the financial accounts this week.

It means that Sheppard, who joined in November 2015, will achieve that rare distinction of having his entry, and exit package, revealed in consecutive accounts.

At least Sheppard will have ample time to prepare for his latest Sydney to Hobart adventure with his brother, veteran yachtie Derek Sheppard.

The brothers bought their own yacht last year, renamed Black Sheep, and raced together for the first time.

“In the last 10 Hobarts there’s been three that I would’ve preferred to have been anywhere else on Earth than on a boat in the middle of Bass Strait,” said Derek before the most recent race.

After less than two years at Spotless, Martin probably knows the feeling well. Big flop

Is it a coincidence that BHP Billiton decided to unveil its booming dividend bonanza alongside the news that it is finally abandoning its shale gas disaster? And not alongside the news of how much chief executive Andrew Mackenzie will get from returning the focus to its core business of mining?

The “shale acquisitions were poorly timed, we paid too much and the rapid progress of early development was not optimal”, Mackenzie offered in the latest mea culpa for the disastrous decision of his predecessor, Marius Kloppers, in 2011.

Kloppers, and his petroleum boss, Texan Mike Yeager, plonked $US20 billion on the business and spent another $US20 billion developing it.

“This is absolutely stupendous,” Yeager told British newspaper The Telegraph in 2012. “This is the biggest thing that has happened in my career.”

Roughly $US10 billion worth of writedowns over the 2015 and 2016 financial years suggest he was right for all the wrong reasons.

BHP is expected to get as little as $US10 billion for the business, making it BHP’s grand folly of the resource boom.

Kloppers’ visionary leadership at BHP yielded more than $75 million in cash, shares and performance rights when he departed in 2013. And as far as CBD can tell his post-BHP career has consisted of one board seat with Danish cement engineering group FL Smidth.

Yeager was obviously a true believer. He went on to head Maverick Drilling and Exploration for a modest $11.2 million worth of remuneration in 2013-14.

Times are obviously tough, though. Maverick, which renamed itself Freedom Oil and Gas, announced in its most recent annual report that Yeager has taken a pay cut.

His $1.3 million salary, and $500,000 in annual payments in lieu of retirement benefits, was cut last year to $800,000. Hail, Caesar

Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted has announced that former Veda boss, Nerida Caesar, will join his board on September 1, along with her fabulous scarves no doubt.

Caesar won’t need the money given she cashed in $40 million worth of shares last year when US group Equifax acquired Veda.

CBD was pleased to see that, among her other interesting roles, she is – or was – chairperson of the Sydney Catholic Business Network.

But what exactly does this network do? CBD decided to check the website.

“At a time when the ethical behaviour of all sectors of society is under scrutiny, the Sydney Archdiocese provide an opportunity for members of the business and government community to dialogue together within a Christian ethical framework,” said an explanatory note from his Eminence, Cardinal George Pell, AC, Vatican Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

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Banks are on a collision course with powerful shareholders over Treasurer Scott Morrison’s plan to give the prudential regulator stronger powers to intervene in senior bankers’ multimillion-dollar pay packets.
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As part of the May budget, Mr Morrison unveiled the banking executive accountability regime (BEAR), which will grant significant new powers to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to influence how top bankers are paid.

The regime includes a requirement that between 40 and 60 per cent of very senior bank executives’ bonuses be deferred for at least four years; APRA will be able to “review and adjust” remuneration policies in response to “inappropriate outcomes”; and it could have senior bankers disqualified.

In submissions to the federal Treasury, ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac raised concerns about certain aspects of the new regime for banker pay – which is currently set by boards, albeit within broad APRA guidelines.

However, the banks’ positions are at odds with the views of powerful shareholders from the not-for-profit superannuation sector, which have been pushing for greater accountability on banker pay and helped give the Commonwealth Bank a historic first “strike” on remuneration last year.

ANZ said it appreciated the government’s “policy intent”, and the rules deferring executive bonuses for four years could be appropriate, but giving APRA greater powers to set pay could undermine the role of the board.

“We question whether involving APRA so closely in setting and influencing remuneration risks undermining the responsibility of boards for appropriate remuneration standards and the role of shareholders in holding boards to account,” ANZ’s submission said.

National Australia Bank also argued boards and remuneration committees were “best placed” to determine the pay packets of top bankers, subject to getting the approval of shareholders.

“The remuneration of senior executives is complex and NAB does not believe that prescriptive legislation about it will be effective,” NAB said.

Westpac said it supported the rationale for the BEAR in trying to rebuild trust, and it backed the proposals for executive bonuses to be deferred for four years. However, it opposed giving APRA greater legal powers to intervene in remuneration, saying this is a matter for boards.

“We believe that boards and management should continue to be able to assess, and be accountable for, the design and operation of remuneration frameworks that support long-term financial soundness,” Westpac said.

Proxy adviser Ownership Matters said Westpac and Macquarie Group were already meeting the proposed requirements on deferred pay.

The industry’s position puts it at odds with some major shareholders such as Australian Super, which backed the move to defer senior banker bonuses and extra powers being given to APRA.

Even though the $120 billion fund said it was normally cautious about regulation that interfered with board decision making, it said “heightened prudential regulation” was warranted in banking after “repeated failures” by some banks to protect the interests of consumers in the past decade, and banks’ critical role in the economy.

The Australian Council for Superannuation Investors, which represents 37 large not-for-profit investors including super funds, also backed the BEAR and warned banks against trying to blunt the impact of the accountability regime on senior bankers’ bonuses by increasing base rates of pay. It said there was “very little appetite among institutional investors to see large increases in fixed remuneration”.

“Any increases to the fixed remuneration of executives to ‘compensate’ for greater deferral of bonuses would be highly likely to attract large ‘no’ votes from institutional investors,” ACSI said.

Commonwealth Bank, which did not provide its own submission on the BEAR, last year had its remuneration report voted down by shareholders, including Australian Super, in a first for a major bank in Australia.

Industry Super Australia said the proposal to mandate some portion of bonuses be deferred could cause executives to bargain for higher fixed pay, which could further heighten public concerns about banker pay.

In contrast, the Australian Shareholders’ Association said the BEAR may go too far, and it was not convinced there was a case for mandating that some portion of bonuses be deferred. It said pay should be set by the board and shareholders, not a government regulator.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted said it was appointing Nerida Caesar, former chief executive of Equifax, as a non-executive director on its board from next month.

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MARKET WRAP
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SALES

Malvern

A fully tenanted office property, returning $212,500 per annum, at 275 Wattletree Road has sold off-market to a Melbourne-based private investor for $4.07 million giving a yield of 5.2 percent. Colliers International’s David Minton and Andrew Ryan conducted the sale achieving a land rate of $8734 per sq m.

Mount Waverley

An owner-occupier has paid $7.25 million for a modern office warehouse at 411-415 Ferntree Gully Road. The 2956 sq m building is occupied by Toshiba who will be vacating the premises. Knight Frank’s Stuart Gill brokered the off-market deal.

Box Hill

Located near Box Hill train station and shopping centre, a 1020 sq m industrial site at 480-482A Station Street has sold for $3.5 million. Cushman and Wakefield’s Robert Colaneri and Andrew O’Connell said the deal achieved a land rate of approximately $3500 per sq m, representing a sub 3 per cent yield.

Camberwell

Savills Melbourne director Nick Peden with colleagues Jesse Radisich, Julian Heatherich and Benson Zhou sold, prior to auction, two adjoining residential properties at 1059-1061 Toorak Road to a Chinese developer for $5.5 million.

Dandenong South

A mortgagee auction for the single-level brick office-warehouse at Unit 3, 10-16 Stephen Road, achieved a sale price of $720,000. This was almost 20 per cent over the reserve said Facey Industrial Commercial’s partner and auctioneer Matt O’Dea.

Elwood

The park frontage triangular site at 27 Gordon Avenue, with a permit for five townhouses, sold for $4.35 million, representing a land rate of $5701 per sq m. The deal was brokered by Leon Ma and Jimmy Tat from CBRE’s Victoria Development Site Sales team.

Dandenong South

An asbestos removal company looking to expand its business has purchased 3/10-16 Stephen Road for $110,000 over the reserve. Facey Industrial Commercial’s Matt O’Dea (auctioneer) and Tim Dark sold the property for $720,000.

Collingwood

A small inner-city cafe has fetched a big price. Fitzroys has sold a cafe at 18 Peel Street, at the base of developer Small Giants’ Oxford & Peel apartment project. It sold under the hammer at a record strata retail building rate for the suburb of $14,200 per sq m, Fitzroys’ Adam Lester and Terence Yeh said. Seven bidders vied for the property that was eventually knocked down for $640,000, representing a tight 4.6 per cent yield.

Cremorne

An owner-occupier has paid $1.81 million for a modern office building at 33 Dover Street. The three-level office features a bathroom, courtyard, city views and five undercover car spaces, said Teska Carson’s Tom Maule and Matthew Feld.

LEASES

Melbourne

Kosch Fertilizer took advantage of a 12.45 per cent net incentive fit-out contribution when signing a five-year lease on part of level 4, 492 St Kilda Rd. Lemon Baxter’s Will McMullin brokered the deal at $260 per sq m.

Melbourne

Global Investment Partners have signed a three-year lease on a small office space located on level 5, 606 St Kilda Road. Lemon Baxter’s Will McMullin achieved $400 per sq m on the deal

Notting Hill

Greenwood Early Education Centres has signed a 12-year lease on the 1659 sq m property at 16 Ferntree Place located in the Ferntree Business Park. Colliers International’s Ash Dean and Travis Myerscough negotiated the deal for mid-$200 per sq m.

Port Melbourne

Lemon Baxter’s Ned Kuci and Nick Bade negotiated a four-year lease sublease at $282,600 per annum to the ABC on the office/warehouse at 391 Plummer Street.

Prahran

Windsor eatery Mr Miyagi has signed a five-year lease for its second outlet in the suburb paying $85,000 per annum on the 24 Chatham Street property. Joe Shahin’s Peregrine Projects negotiated the lease.

South Melbourne

A four-year lease at $100,000 per annum on the office/showroom at 154 Moray Street was negotiated by Lemon Baxter’s Ned Kuci and Nick Bade within four weeks of going to market. This represents $400 net per sq m.

South Melbourne

Lemon Baxter’s Will McMullin negotiated a three-year lease for the unique ground floor space at 23 Union Street at a rate of $400 per net sq m.

West Melbourne

Andrew Thorburn and James Shaw of Gross Waddell have leased 513-521 Victoria Street to short-term tenant Quinn Civil for $50,000 per annum.

Williamstown

The Laundry Box, the dry-cleaning and alterations group, has signed a three-year lease for a rental of $40,000 per annum on Shop 7, 18 Ferguson Street, part of the Punthill Apartment Hotel. Allard Shelton’s Simon Southey negotiated the deal at a rate of $615 per sq m.

Williamstown

Allard Shelton’s agent Simon Southey brokered a five-year lease for a $65,000 per annum rental on a shop at 44 Ferguson Street realising a rental rate of $650 per sq m.

Camberwell

A retail property at 708 Burke Road has been leased for two-and-a-half years for $59,000 per annum by Ned Kuci from Lemon Baxter.

Braeside

JR Storage & Logistics has taken over buildings 1-19 Industrial Drive on a two-year lease. Colliers International’s James Stott negotiated the terms at $55 per sq m, saying it was “a strong result” for the landlord, David Barr.

South Yarra

Sofa, so good! Sydney-based furniture retailer Lounge Lovers will recline into a new tenancy at 507 Chapel Street, South Yarra, after signing a three-year lease for the 600 sq m site. Colliers International’s Chris Meehan, Cam Taranto and Jarrod Herscu negotiated terms at about $500 per sq m on behalf of Sunway Group.

Southbank

Melbourne-based construction and maintenance provider Sterling Group has committed to levels one and two at 70 City Road for three years. Colliers International’s Chris Meehan and Vincent Tran negotiated terms for the 600 sqm tenancy at $400 per sq m.

Toorak

Women’s clothing and accessories retailer, Who Fish, has taken a new lease at Hawksburn Village in a deal brokered by Teska Carson’s Luke Bisset and Fergus Evans. Mr Bisset said Who Fish took a five-year lease over Shop 3 at 537 Malvern Road plus a five-year option at a rental of $73,000 per annum net.

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A family business that has been running since 1901 will end 93 years of continuous trading in Melbourne’s popular Chapel Street when it sells its historic shop.
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McPhee’s Fine Antiques, which focuses on 18th century English and French furniture, has put its store at 200-202 Chapel Street on the market with price expectations above $5 million.

The business originally opened around the corner in High Street.

The two-level, double-fronted, 497-square-metre Victorian-era building, Holywells Terrace, which is in near original condition is in a part of Chapel Street dominated by similar historic shopfronts.

Fourth-generation antique dealer Duncan McPhee said the family business would remain open but move to another location.

“We’re keeping on the business. Chapel Street has changed so much it doesn’t suit that type of business any more. It’s a different type of street to what it was years ago,” he said.

Mr McPhee and his brother took over the business from their father Christopher.

“It was my great-grandfather who started the business. My brother and I are the fourth generation.”

They buy all their furniture in England and France and ship it back.

“We’ve been doing that for 60 years,” he said.

The property will be sold through Teska Carson’s Matthew Feld and Tom Maule.

Mr Feld said Prahran was undergoing significant redevelopment.

“This part of Chapel Street has an enviable aura and reputation driven by its eclectic mix of tenancies from cafes to restaurants, bars and entertainment venues,” he said.

A recent Knight Frank survey of 11 suburban shopping strips across Melbourne highlighted Chapel Street’s historically high vacancy rate.

At worrying levels of 13.5 per cent last year, the vacancy rate fell slightly to 12.4 per cent, but still remains above the long-term average of 8.6 per cent.

Vacancies across the 11 streets surveyed, which included Bridge Road in Richmond, Toorak Road in South Yarra and Church Street in Brighton, fell marginally to an average of 8 per cent.

High vacancies have not deterred investors, particularly self-managed super funds, who are looking to gain a foothold in retail with a view to long-term capital gain.

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London: Civilian casualties, including the child fighters of the Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf, are part of the “price of the war,” despite efforts to minimise their deaths, says the spokesperson for the global coalition fighting Islamic State.
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While refusing to comment directly on the case of Sharrouf and his two sons, reported killed in an airstrike in Syria last week, Major General Rupert Jones said the global coalition goes through “really detailed, targeted processes.”

Speaking to international journalists in London from Baghdad via Skype, General Jones said: “This is the most precise, targeting process that I think any coalition has ever achieved in any previous conflict,” he said.

He declined to give any details about Sharrouf’s death but said in general children on the battlefield would be treated differently but it would not always be possible to tell if they comprised part of a target or not.

“If you can patently see they’re children then you’re going to treat them as children but that will often be quite difficult to define, you can’t necessarily tell the age of an individual,” he said.

“We go to the very, very greatest lengths possible to make sure that casualties are minimised.”

He said the military always aims for zero civilian deaths but said that the licence to kill is greater depending on the target.

“If you’re going after [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi would we take a bit more risk than if we were going after some low-level fighter? Yes and I think nations would expect us to do that,” he said.

Sharrouf slipped out of Australia using his brother’s passport to join Islamic State in 2013. His wife, Tara Nettleton joined him soon after with their five children Zaynab, 15, Hoda, 14, Abdullah, 12, Zarqawi, 9, and Humzeh, 6. In an image that made international headlines, Abdullah was photographed holding a severed head of a Syrian soldier in 2014.

Abdulla and Zarqawi are believed to have been killed in the strike on August 11. Zaynab was married to another Australian foreign fighter Mohammed Elomar and gave birth to a child. Elomar is thought to have been killed in an air strike in Syria in 2015, the same year the mother of the Sharrouf children, Tara Nettleton died from appendix surgery in Syria.

The global coalition issues a monthly report on the number of civilians killed. It disputes claims by Airwars of nearly 5,000 innocent casualties and says the figure of verified civilian deaths is 624. To date, based on data between August 2014 and June 2017, the Coalition conducted a total of 22,983 strikes that included 48,636 separate engagements.

“Now I’m not saying to you that is the totality but that is the totality that has been presented to us, of credible cases that we’ve been able to investigate and resolve,” he said.

But he said it was impossible to liberate cities like Mosul and Raqqa without civilians being caught in the crossfire. “You can’t defeat Daesh without there being some price, our job is to keep that price as small as possible.” ‘Surrender or die’

General Jones said there were “undoubtedly” foreign fighters in the last remaining strongholds of Raqqa in Syria and Tal Afar and the remainder of Ninewah province in Northern Iraq.

He said it was becoming extremely difficult for them to escape via Turkey and infiltrate Europe or countries in the north of Africa, saying there was no evidence of many fighters leaving cities like Mosul and Raqqa.

“It’s equally hard to move back out, in the same way if you can’t get across through Turkey easily, you can’t get out easily either,” he said.

He quoted Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi saying ISIS fighters had one of two options: “surrender or die.”

Australia is hoping that within months, Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash will be returned home to Australia to face terrorism charges. He was caught trying to escape Syria via Turkey last year.

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