A 28-storey Brisbane office tower has sold for $113.6 million, marking the first time in 25 years the 288 Edward Street asset has changed hands.
Heitman snapped up the tower in partnership with local fund manager Marquette Properties on an 8 per cent yield.
Industry sources indicate that Marquette secured a 9,000sq m lease during due diligence with US firm Concentrix, lifting the occupancy of the asset to around 90 per cent.
The asset was just 59 per cent occupied when it hit the market in mid-2018.
Canadian property group Quadra Pacific withdrew from Brisbane’s office market last year, listing the older Edward Street asset along with a 16-storey Mary Street tower.
Marquette managing director Toby Lewis said the asset presented a good value-add opportunity in Brisbane’s CBD.
“We have exciting plans to transform the asset,” Lewis said.
“Its central position relieves leasing stress and afford us options to improve the retail podium and the public realm dramatically.”
Heitman was joined by four offshore investors on the deal.
“They all believe in the Queensland economy’s direction, the growth of Brisbane and its continued improvement in the standings of Asia-Pacific cities to invest,” Lewis said.
Marquette manages $300 million of commercial and retail assets across South East Queensland.
Heitman recently picked up the Brisbane Barracks with Fortius Funds Management and the K1 office tower in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley from Melbourne syndicator Impact Investment Group.
Quadra acquired 288 Edward Street for $27 million in the early ’90s. The 133 Mary Street asset will settle in coming weeks.
The 288 Edward Street sale was handled by JLL agents Luke Billiau and Seb Turnbull.
Newstead, West End apartments putting the squeeze on industrial land
Brisbane’s limited industrial land is under pressure from multiple sectors, and needs to be protected to sustain industry jobs, a Brisbane City Council report says.
Industry accounts for 15 per cent of the city’s jobs but industrial-zoned land supporting major businesses is often re-zoned for residential use, particularly along the Brisbane River.
As the city’s formerly industrial centre becomes increasingly residential, Brisbane’s major industry areas – both inner-city and further afield – need to change, the council’s Brisbane Industrial Strategy 2019 says.
“Although these precincts are generally well supported by infrastructure, there are opportunities available to promote and consolidate them,” the report notes.
“For example, this could include facilitating the efficient use of infrastructure, increasing services and amenity in industrial areas to help attract a talented workforce and realising the benefits of co-location.”
The report lays out six priorities and nine key actions to support and sustain Brisbane’s industry.
The report recommended land zoned for industry be protected but also calls for better management of industrial uses on such land to protect more “sensitive” neighbours.
It recommended “flexibility” for regulation to ensure future innovation be supported and the improvement of public transport and infrastructure to major industrial zones.
City planning needed to be used to develop industrial precincts around the city, the report finds.
City planning committee chairman councillor Matthew Bourke said 77 public submissions had been received during consultation on the plan.
“The industrial sector currently provides 15 per cent of all jobs in Brisbane and contributes significantly to local production and exports, with demand for industrial land potentially outstripping supply by 2041,” Cr Bourke said.
“The nine key actions focus on addressing key priorities for industry through an approach involving changes to Brisbane City Plan 2014, and non-statutory initiatives with a future‑focused, strategic approach to encouraging industrial development over time.”
Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said Brisbane’s industrial property market had been a “shining light” in recent years.
“This new strategy seeks to maintain this growth by removing a number of the obstacles
to further investment that are currently being experienced by the sector,” he said.
Mr Mountford welcomed the report’s emphasis on flexible regulation for the sector.
“Today you are more likely to find millions of dollars’ worth of robotics and workers in lab
coats rather than smoke stacks and overalls,” he said.
“That is why it is so important that our planning system moves with the times and ensures there is flexibility to attract the industrial uses of the future, rather than locking up land in a dogmatic way.”
Stockland Offloads Two Malls for $143m
ASX-listed developer Stockland has pocketed $143 million from the sale of two Brisbane shopping centres, redirecting the proceeds into its office and industrial pipelines.
Economic headwinds, exacerbated by concerns around the growth of ecommerce and declining business confidence are weighing heavily on the sector.
The Stockland Cleveland shopping centre and the Toowong retail and commercial centre were sold to private investors, representing a 2.9 per cent premium to combined book value.
Economists are eyeing the plethora of retail assets hitting the market from big players, as anaemic rental growth, declining business confidence and a reversing wealth effect plague the sector.
A UBS survey of more than 14,000 consumers revealed a substantial decline in the shopping frequency at Australian malls.
UBS analysts said that they don’t anticipate the disposal queue of retail assets to clear in 2019.
Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert said that the sales align with the group’s strategy of divesting non-core assets.
“These transactions take our total asset sales for the current financial year to $256.1 million, representing 64 per cent of our target $400 million of divestments already achieved within the first nine months of the stated 24-month timeframe,” Steinert said.
Stockland commercial director Louise Mason said that the property giant is on track to achieve its target of $600 million of non-core retail divestments in order to target re-weighting into office and logistics.
“We continue to strategically reposition our centres, with a focus on customer experience, place-making and retail remixing towards growth categories, to ensure the resilience of our portfolio into the future.”
The two Brisbane centres are expected to settle by 30 June, 2019.
Brisbane Office Market Sales Surge 60pc in 2018
Queensland’s growing economy and more than $44 billion of public and private sector infrastructure projects have attracted ongoing investment into its capital city office market, with the volume of office transactions above $5 million in Brisbane’s CBD reaching the highest level in 10 years.
Around $2.35 billion in office sales took place in 2018, a jump of 60 per cent, compared to $1.47 billion in 2017, according to the latest CBD Office Report from Colliers International.
A major source of capital was seen in cross border investment from offshore, including the likes of Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Singapore and Germany, increasing to $1.77 billion last year from $891 million in 2017.
National director of capital markets at Colliers International Jason Lynch said increased interest from offshore and domestic institutional investors in 2019 is expected to continue.
“Constrained supply of new developments is expected to continue in 2019 on the back of low risk appetite from Australian developers holding back the construction of new developments until pre-commitments are confirmed,” he said.
“This is a positive from an investor perspective,” he said.
Prime grade vacancy in Brisbane CBD at the end of 2018 was at 10 per cent, while secondary grade vacancy sat at 16.9 per cent.
Deloitte Access Economics forecasts Brisbane CBD’s white-collar employment market to gradually grow at an average of 2,820 persons per year across the next seven years to 2025.
And with overall vacancy rate sitting at a five-year low, Colliers International research manager Karina Salas expects increased leasing activity and tighter vacancy in the coming years due to growing white-collar employment in the CBD.
“With no new supply of premium assets available until 2022 and circa 17,400sq m of new leases of vacant premium office relocating in 2019, we are forecasting a reduction in vacancy rates from the current 10.4 per cent down to levels below six per cent by 2020.”
Slated for completion in 2022 is Mirvac’s $800 million development at 80 Ann Street. Salas says this is also the only premium building under construction, with about 70 per cent of its net lettable area already committed to Suncorp in what was described as the biggest leasing deal in a decade.
Brisbane CBD saw a total of 46,931sq m in net absorption last year and a total of 102,120sq m over the past three years averaging 34,040sqm per annum for this period.
The Brisbane CBD also recorded a total of 139,613sq m in withdrawals and a total of 209,290sq m in new supply indicating a total supply of 69,677sq m across the past three years.
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