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Harbour Town sale not yet complete

03 Apr 2014

Harbour Town sale not yet complete Image

Sydney-based real-estate investment group Ashe Morgan plans to acquire Harbour Town and the Icehouse in Docklands, but the deal is not done yet.

Docklands News understands conditional contracts to purchase the site have been signed and the acquisition process has begun, but is not currently completed.

On March 18, The Australian reported Ashe Morgan had purchased Harbour Town shopping centre and the Icehouse from ING for $150 million.

Land title documents reveal that on March 13, lawyers acting for Ashe Morgan lodged a caveat on the land titles for Harbour Town and the Icehouse, forbidding the registration of any person as proprietor of the sites.

The caveat points to a contract of sale between Waterfront City 1B Retail Pty Ltd (ING) and Ashe Morgan Pty Ltd, dated March 4.

It is believed the March 4 contract referenced in the caveat is a conditional contract to purchase the site.

According to Albert Morcos, Harbour Town traders were yet to be informed of the centre’s intended sale.

Mr Morcos owns and operates Le Cirque Fine Foods at Harbour Town and said after reading a news report on the sale, he approached centre management asking if it was true.

“I received two different responses,” Mr Morcos said.

“The first said don’t believe everything you read but the second said an agreement was in place but was still conditional.”

Mr Morcos said he had known about ING’s intention to sell its Australian real estate ventures for a long time.

He said he has been aware of plans to sell Harbour Town for at least a year, even before ING sold the observation wheel in October last year.

ING has been off-loading its Docklands assets since 2011, when it sold the Victoria Harbour section of Waterfront City site to MAB Corporation.

Last year, ING sold the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel to Sanyoyas Rides Corporation, the Japanese-owned company, which designed and manufactured the attraction.

ING’s Docklands office has also reduced in size markedly. It is believed just four ING staff continue to work at the Docklands Drive office.

ING declined to comment on the sale of Harbour Town and the Icehouse, while Ashe Morgan did not respond to a request for comment.

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