MAB’s competitive advantage in the market place is its ability to deliver products and places that people choose to invest in and importantly, in locations where people choose to live and work. While industry commentators have focussed on the subdued economic environment during 2012, we have continued to see ongoing demand in the market for new MAB products.
It has been a strong year of growth, planning and delivering on the ground – right across the breadth of our business – which places us in a solid position for the future.
A highlight has been the success of our major project – the $365 million The Quays development at NewQuay in Melbourne’s Docklands. In what has been considered a tough residential market, interest has been very strong and over 90 per cent of the project is now sold, which is testimony to our focus on quality and creating a lifestyle along the waterfront.
In the commercial sector, MAB launched The Quarter which comprises 32,000m² of commercial office space to be developed over four stages. Located in a prime location at NewQuay, Docklands, The Quarter specifically meets the needs of medium sized businesses. MAB’s 240 UNI HILL project at University Hill was officially opened in July 2012 by the Minister for Planning, The Hon Matthew Guy. 204 UNI HILL is the third strata office building developed by MAB at University Hill and will provide accommodation for 40 new business and approximately 300 jobs at University Hill.
MAB’s industrial portfolio – now totalling 14 developments – included the launch of Alliance Business Park in Epping. The $80 million Alliance Business Park is situated in the well located Cooper Street Employment Precinct in close proximity to the new Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market. It is anticipated that Alliance will create approximately 4,000 jobs in the City of Whittlesea.
We consolidated our operations at Docklands Apartments Grand Mercure with our new headquarters at MAB’s HarbourOne at NewQuay. Docklands Apartments Grand Mercure has grown from strength to strength in 2012 and we provided 44,640 night’s accommodation during 2012 for our regional, interstate and international guests.
As an integrated property company, MAB Funds Management manages the MAB Diversified Property Trust which has six assets located throughout Australia and the MAB International Retail Trust which includes retail assets in North Carolina and South Carolina in the United States. MAB Funds also manages the MAB Quays Mezzanine Fund which provides a mezzanine debt loan to The Quays project at NewQuay. We now have $150 million of properties under management.
At the core of MAB’s growth strategy during 2012 has been our design, master planning and development approval of MAB’s next wave of projects. We have been collaborating with our partners in the State Government, Local Government and the Authorities to plan MAB’s development pipeline for the next two decades.
At NewQuay, the NewQuay Central Development Plan was approved in July. The Development Plan encompasses land located in the vicinity of the former Waterfront City Piazza and will see the integration and revitalisation of this precinct with the broader NewQuay locality.
The proposed Merrifield City Centre was designated by the State Government in the Northern Growth Corridor Plan. This establishes the framework for the creation of MAB’s proposed 110 hectare City precinct at Merrifield, Mickleham. The Merrifield West Precinct Structure Plan was also approved which will see the creation of 4,000 residential lots, two Local Town Centres, three schools and a range of parks and open spaces across Merrifield. We continue to invest in infrastructure at Merrifield with our joint venture partner GPC, and are planning to release our first stage of residential development in early 2013. We were also pleased that the Minister for Planning included our 142 hectare Lindum Vale project, which adjoins Merrifield, inside the Urban Growth Boundary as part of the Logical Inclusion Process.
It has certainly been a busy year at MAB and importantly it has been a strategic year for planning with a strong pipeline of projects.
We are looking forward to 2013 with the next tranche of our projects at NewQuay, Merrifield, University Hill and across our business parks being launched and delivered across Melbourne.