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Commonwealth Property Investment Fund buys Salamander Shopping Centre

20 November 2001

Commonwealth Property Investment Fund's Retail Sector today exchanged unconditional contracts to purchase the Salamander Shopping Centre for $32.6m from the BT Property Trust.

The 12,000m2 centre situated approximately 60km north east of Newcastle is anchored by Woolworths and Bi-Lo supermarkets, a Fosseys variety store and 44 specialty stores. The purchase also included approximately 2.3 hectares of vacant commercially zoned land.

CPIF Fund Manager Graham Pearson said the Salamander Shopping Centre was differentiated from other recent market sales given its dominance of the local trade area and the strong population growth forecasts for the Port Stephens region. In addition, the centre has immediate potential for further development to incorporate a discount department store (DDS) and additional specialty shops to reduce the current level of escape expenditure from the area. It is anticipated that there will be strong interest for a DDS in this location. This, coupled with strong rental growth potential based on the current average occupancy cost rate of only 9%, makes the centre an excellent acquisition for the Fund.

Mr Pearson said the acquisition would be accretive to the projected total returns of the Fund's Retail Sector and showed an attractive initial yield on the shopping centre component of approximately 8.5%.

CPIF Retail Sector now has interests in four assets with a strong focus on sub-regional sized centres with expansion potential. The purchase of Salamander Shopping Centre brings total assets in the Retail Sector to $155 million and assets for the whole Fund to $614 million.

For further details on CPIF see attached Appendix.