Australia's Lend Lease Corp given approval to buy Dress Smart outlet chain

By Anne Gibson

A $185 million retail property ownership shakeup is under way.

Control of Dress Smart, the discount factory outlet chain originally established by John Bougen and his associates, is changing hands.

The Overseas Investment Office this week revealed the terms of the deal, saying the string of four stores was worth a total of $185.13 million.

Plans are to sell all four to Australia's Lend Lease Corporation.

The OIO granted Lend Lease approval to buy 3.3ha of land at Tawa near Wellington from Armstrong Jones Management, acting ASX trustee of the ING NZ Retail Fund.

The land has the Wellington Dress Smart outlet on it.

Lend Lease was selected as the preferred bidder to buy the assets of ING Retail Property Fund Australia, the OIO said.

Four assets in New Zealand are the Dress Smart outlets at Tawa, Meridian Mall in Dunedin, Hornby in Christchurch and Onehunga, the largest.

Bougen, an author, publisher and photographer and director of Parnell-based Prime Retail, founded then sold the Dress Smart chain which was started in Onehunga.

Prime managed the chain on behalf of Australian owner ING Retail, which in 2003 paid $63.35 million for the portfolio of what was then three Dress Smarts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

ASX-listed Lend Lease Group operates in the Asia Pacific, Europe and the US.

- NZ Herald

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