HARDWARE giant Bunnings' departure from its massive Booval site in late 2015 will make way for a different variety of retail big-hitter.
Harvey Norman is set to vacate its Ipswich Mall space and relocate to the 8600sq m Hamilton St complex, which is neighboured by a pharmacy warehouse, discount stores and a McDonald's restaurant.
Although Harvey Norman turned down the invitation to comment about the purchase, it is understood the move will result in a considerable expansion in its Ipswich sales, given the larger space.
The site includes car parks for 530 vehicles.
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Savills Retail Sales director Jon Tyson, who helped negotiate the $10.8 million deal, said expressions of interest began early this year, attracting a wide variety of potential buyers.
"There were multiple bidders - six or seven of them - ranging from owner/occupiers to developers who had completely different visions for the site," Mr Tyson said.
Once it moves into Booval, Harvey Norman will find itself in competition with several other electrical and furniture outlets in the area, including The Good Guys, RT Edwards and Dick Smith Electronics - all within a stone's throw of each other on Brisbane Rd.
Bunnings Warehouse has been leasing the site from the private owner for the last 12 years. The lease expires towards the end of 2015.
The hardware superstore will move a couple of kilometres down the road to the new Mining St, Bundamba site once it is built.
Bunnings chief operating officer Peter Davis said the construction of the Bundamba site was timed to coincide with the expiry of the Booval lease.
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"The new Bunnings Warehouse Bundamba will replace the existing Booval Warehouse in late 2015 so that we can provide local residents with a bigger and better store...," he said in a prepared statement.
Bunnings is also putting the finishing touches on its new West Ipswich store, but has remained coy about the exact opening date.
When asked about when the Brisbane St store would open, a Bunnings spokeswoman said "before the end of the year".
The Booval purchase is the latest in a string of investments in Queensland's retail property sector by retailing billionaire Gerry Harvey, including the $15 million purchase of the remaining 50% of the Browns Plains Homemaker Centre from FKP in 2012 and the $16.175 million Cairns Hypermarket deal in 2013 from Charter Hall's PFA Fund.
The sale of the Bunnings Booval property is the latest in a number of retail sales transacted by Savills in Brisbane's western growth corridor, including the sale of Home HQ Retail Centre in West Ipswich for $23.5 million on behalf of Charter Hall in 2013.
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