Coles vs Woolies DIY battle sees Dahlsens sell gold rush era hardware site in Ballarat

Coles vs Woolies DIY battle sees Dahlsens sell gold rush era hardware site in Ballarat
Coles vs Woolies DIY battle sees Dahlsens sell gold rush era hardware site in Ballarat

The Dahlsen hardware family run by former BRW rich lister John Dahlsen  is selling its historic Ballarat hardware site after being muscled out by Coles-owned Bunnings and Woolworth’s fast expanding Masters DIY chain. 

The store on the site was run as Dahlsens Hardware by a local family for the past seven year but the site was previously home to the oldest hardware chain in Ballarat, Coltmans Mitre Ten, dating back to the gold rush, which was later sold to Dahlsens. 

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John Dahlsen, a fifth generation Dahlsen, is the chairman of the hardware chain started when John Christian Dahlsen opened of timber yard business in 1877 after travelling to Gippsland in search of gold. 

Of late it has been exiting from the retail side of the DIY market, unable to compete with the market power wielded by Coles and Woolworths. 

Last month, Dahlsen sold hardware store premises in the Gippsland town of Sale, leased by Bunnings, for $6.36 million to a Melbourne-based private family on a yield of 7.5%.

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Bunnings recently relocated from its original Wendouree premises to a new, 8,400 square metre purpose-built store in Creswick Road.

Woolworths in its joint enture with US home improvement chaing Lowe's plans to open a new Masters store at a site also in Wendouree. 

Last year, competition regulator the ACCC, blocked Woolworth’s attempt to acquire three hardware stores in Ballarat over concerns it would reduce competition in the local DIY market.

Market sources suggest Dahlsens expects around $7 million-plus for the 15,400 square metre site at 55-63 Albert Street, Sebastopol which incorporates 5,365 square metres of building space, 8,240 square metres of hardstand and a sealed car park for 125 cars. 

The sales campaign is being led by Colliers International agents Charles Kennedy, Andrew Lewis and Tom Noonan on behalf of the Dahlsen family. 

Noonan says strong interest is expected from major retailers looking to position themselves close to other strong national retailers including Woolworths and Aldi, as well as a number of development groups.

“Retail offerings of this scale are not common in regional markets such as Ballarat, and the recent portfolio sale of Shepparton CBD retail properties which included 16,766 square metres of additional zoned retail land to the Lascorp Development Group, showed the continued interest from Melbourne-based groups looking to capitalise on the significant growth prospect in Victoria regional areas,“ he said.

Charles Kennedy says the property is in a key location in a major Ballarat retail precinct, within a strong growth corridor and a strengthening commercial activity zone.

“Dahlsens have chosen to get out of retail/DIY hardware in this area and concentrate on operating on a trade-only basis, as a result the company’s large site in Ballarat’s Sebastopol area is now being offered for sale,” Kennedy says.

The property will be offered with vacant possession and will be sold by expressions of interest closing May 17.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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