Infrastructure News

Australian Unity expands $1.5b social infrastructure business

“The ACT and Canberra has long had unmet SDA demand with limited new SDA delivered in the past 12 months, so we are particularly pleased to provide housing for people who may previously have been living in unsuitable settings,” said Jacob Edwards, fund manager for Australian Unity’s SDA vehicle.

Australian Unity is advancing into the childcare sector as well, settling on two centres in the last week: one at Epping, Melbourne’s north and the other at Redwood Park in Adelaide.

The Australian Unity Childcare Property Fund has forecast an IRR of between 9 per cent and 10 per cent. In addition to the latest deals, four more centres are under contract in Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Hervey Bay, which will take the portfolio to around $73 million when the deals settle.

The investment platform’s social infrastructure interests have expanded well beyond childcare and disability housing. It is responsible for the management and delivery of the $1.1 billion redevelopment of Herston Quarter in Brisbane and also has around $500 million invested in seniors living, with retirement villages and aged care facilities accommodating more than 3000 residents.

Its student accommodation fund includes a $55 million investment at Herston Quarter. The 700-bed portfolio is operated by UniLodge Australia and has around 500 local and international students currently.

“For too long the market has neglected the ecosystems that enable the delivery of fit-for-purpose social infrastructure – be it childcare services, specialist disability accommodation, student accommodation, retirement living and aged care, or hospitals and medical centres,” said Ryan Banting, executive general manager for social infrastructure at Australian Unity.

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