On 30 April 2015, Urban Partners completed the sale of the Southgate shopping centre in South Auckland to Augusta. When the development of Southgate began over 12 years ago there was very little in the way of large format retail in the area. It was a strategic decision by then Retail Holdings, based on the planning considerations for the area and the population growth projections at the time. As the name Retail Holdings suggests, we had retail in our veins right from the start. It’s a legacy that began when brothers Haydn and Mark Staples began investing in retail property off the back of being retail tenants in the 1970s.
The sale of Southgate Centre marks a milestone for Urban Partners, a closing off of one chapter in our 30-year history and the start of another that sees us moving into growth sectors such as hospitality, health and wellness destinations residential mixed use developments, amongst others. Auckland’s growth, the aging population, a strong hospitality sector, and an increasing interest in health and wellbeing are all major trends that are factored into our business strategy.
The rebrand from Retail Holdings to Urban Partners in 2014 was a way of communicating our new direction to the market. That’s not to say that Urban Partners is getting out of retail altogether. There are retail elements to a number of our existing investments in Mission Bay, Waiwera and Pahia that are an integral part of our plans to carefully transform these popular destinations into ‘visionary places’. And as the recent design, fund and delivery of projects like the Spark Data Centre have shown, we are actively looking for new projects that leverage our core skills and competencies, and align with Urban Partners’ vision for the future.