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Property group purchases terminal in Whitsundays

By Mark Beale

SENTINEL Property Group has expanded into tourism infrastructure with the acquisition of the Port of Airlie Maritime Terminal.

The infrastructure comprises a passenger terminal building with administration offices, café and gift shop, 310m of floating pontoon, 10 large vessel marina berths and refuelling facility.

It was acquired by the new Sentinel Infrastructure (Airlie Beach) Trust for $15.3 million on a 20-year leaseback with further 10-year option to Cruise Whitsundays.

Cruise Whitsundays is the dominant operator in the region, with 90% market share of all ferry and day cruise services in the Whitsundays, including a number of exclusive ferry contracts with island resorts. In financial year 2014, the company provided island resort connections to over 400,000 passengers and conducted day trips for an estimated 170,000 tourists.

Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said the acquisition of the Port of Airlie Maritime Terminal is in line with Sentinel’s proven ‘first mover’ strategy of capitalising on emerging markets that have not yet been identified by others.

He said investment in tourism infrastructure broadens Sentinel national property holdings, which comprise more than 30 retail, industrial, office and land assets with a total combined value approaching $1 billion.

“We have been buying retail homemaker centres, and more recently neighbourhood shopping centres, when they were supposedly out of fashion and we are now seeing the big listed trusts moving back into this space which reinforces the success of our buying strategy,” Mr Ebert said.

“We are always striving to stay ahead of the pack and we have been actively seeking an asset where we could gain exposure to and benefit from the improving fundamentals of the tourism sector.”

The Port of Airlie Maritime Terminal is an irreplaceable slice of prime tourism infrastructure with a profitable tenant, positioned at the gateway to one of our most iconic tourism destinations.

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