Malaysian group buys Docklands supermarket

A Malaysian investment group is believed to have paid at least $14.5 million to buy the only full-line supermarket in Docklands.

A Malaysian investment group is believed to have paid at least $14.5 million to buy the only full-line supermarket in Docklands.

Industry sources say the deal was finalised this week on the 2735-square-metre retail space Lend Lease built in Victoria Harbour. It was listed in April with an asking price of $14 million.

Listing agents Lachlan MacGillivray, Tom Noonan and Daniel Wolman, of Colliers International, declined to comment.

Woolworths occupied the spot in 2008 on a lease that runs for 20 years. The sale included two retail kiosks inside the Merchant Street centre of 50 and 90 square metres respectively, and 120 car parking spaces.

It comes as Docklands' resident and worker population continues to rise.

The suburb has seen substantial new building activity in the past five years but has been plagued by a lack of basic facilities for its growing population.

The number of residents in the precinct jumped 48 per cent - compared with a growth rate of 24 per cent of for the City of Melbourne - in the five years to 2011, according to the council's Census of Land Use and Employment.

Employment in the area rose 13.7 per cent to involve 38,198 people in the two years to 2012, the survey found.

The overall population of the city's centre is expected to reach 181,325 by 2031.

The past decade's growth has seen a corresponding rise in the amount of CBD, Docklands and Southbank retail space devoted to supermarkets.

Both Coles and Woolworths have invested in smaller, convenience-style city stores, with Woolworths launching a successful concept store in the Southern Cross railway station last year.

Several years earlier, Coles established a full-line supermarket at the other end of Southern Cross near Lonsdale Street that is set to take advantage of an unprecedented growth in nearby apartments.

Space devoted to city supermarkets has risen fivefold over the past decade to a total of 50,300 square metres.

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sjohanson@fairfaxmedia.com.au