Sydney investment house AsheMorgan is stepping up its exposure to the retail sector, taking on three blocks of classic Oxford Street properties through 99-year leases with the City of Sydney.
Under the deal, AsheMorgan has control over three addresses – 56-76, 82-106 and 110-122 – along a stretch of the famed shopping strip’s northern side in Darlinghurst.
The fund manger will embark on a rejuvenation program for the faded strip, with the aim of activating more than 12,000 square metres of floor space following development approval for major works.
There will be space set aside for creative tenants, integrated into the broader mix of commercial and retail spaces. The three retail properties account for more than 40 per cent of the street frontage between Oxford Square and Taylor Square.
“Our vision is for a place that is not overdeveloped, but retains its human scale, pays homage to the past and stands the test of time,” AsheMorgan investment manager Marcello D’Ambra said.
“We want to see Oxford Street alive with people at all times of the day and night, with a mix of commercial, retail, creative and public spaces.”
For the City of Sydney, there is the hope that redevelopment through AsheMorgan will become a catalyst for further development along Oxford Street, while generating earnings for the city itself.
“In recent years, we’ve sold surplus properties to fund community assets and services for our growing city,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“Revenue from our commercial properties allows us to provide the outstanding parks, public spaces, facilities, infrastructure, events and services that our community expects.”
AsheMorgan has been an enthusiastic investor in retail property in recent years. In Melbourne it has pursued a $150 million revitalisation of Docklands’ unloved former Harbour Town after taking over the site for $146 million five years ago.
In late 2018, the investment house bought AMP Capital’s Crossroads Homemaker Centre in south-west Sydney for $140 million, a deal that reflected AsheMorgan’s confidence in the long-term growth of western Sydney.
The Sydney fund manager is also busy with its office exposures, including a joint venture with DMann Corporation to develop the new Brisbane home for mining giant Rio Tinto.
The Midtown Centre will deliver 45,000sq m of office space by joining two existing towers on Charlotte Street and Mary Street into a single 26-storey tower. It has won debt funding from AustralianSuper along with cornerstone equity from Hong Kong-based Peterson Group for that project.
Keep up with Commercial Real Estate news.