The directors of investment manager Occasio Projects have announced the acquisition of the $500m mixed-use Mernda Town Centre development from Woolworths.
The project has strong financial backing from the three shareholders of Occasio Projects who have initially acquired the site via Mernda Retail Developments Pty Ltd, being: Ray Zelouf, the founder and Managing Director of Occasio Projects, Dorman Capital, the family office of the co-founder of Regis Healthcare and Jensz Investment Company, owned by Craig Jensz, the founder of Lion Advisory.
Construction has now commenced on Stage One of the development being the Mernda Shopping Centre, which will see Woolworths remain as the key anchor tenant to deliver a full-line supermarket, along with 35 speciality retail shops.
Scheduled to open in mid-2022, the shopping centre will cost $110m and create approximately 300 construction jobs.
The Mernda Town Centre is one of a growing number of projects within Occasio’s investment portfolio where it is not only a capital provider but also a development partner, in order to unlock and realise greater value for its investors over the term of the investment. Occasio Projects investors will be offered the exclusive opportunity to participate in the Mernda Town Centre through a series of funds in the coming months.
Occasio Projects Managing Director Ray Zelouf said: “The Directors of Occasio projects are very pleased to have secured the Mernda Town Centre opportunity.
“Occasio provides both debt and equity solutions across its portfolio and we are progressively playing a more active role as development partner across a growing number of these investments. “Occasio investors will have the opportunity to participate in a high-quality asset in Melbourne’s northern growth corridor, which will benefit from sustained population growth and rapid development.”
Dorman Capital CEO Nick Dorman said: “ Dorman Capital is pleased to support Occasio with the acquisition of the Mernda Town Centre. The commencement of construction of the Mernda Town Centre is a major milestone and demonstrates our confidence in the future of the Whittlesea region. We look forward to making a long-term contribution to the terrific lifestyle opportunities that will be offered to the broader Mernda community.”
State Development Manager of Woolworths Don Foulds said: “ We’re delighted to celebrate this major step forward in the revitalisation of the Mernda Town Centre. “We’re confident the Mernda Town Centre development will deliver local residents a truly integrated, thriving and convenient community and shopping destination. We look forward to welcoming customers into our store in 2022.”
The broader Mernda Town Centre project spans 27 hectares and will include retail, commercial, entertainment and residential offerings. It will be delivered in multiple stages over the next five years and provide more than 1,000 ongoing employment opportunities.
Whittlesea Council is a foundation stakeholder in the Mernda Town Centre, with future plans for a learning and well-being offering in addition to restoring the historic Mayfield Farm.
The Mernda Town Centre is located on the corner of Plenty Road and Bridge Inn Road in Mernda, 25km north of the Melbourne CBD, adjacent to the Mernda train station.