Two years after it was first put up for sale, the Hersch family finally found a buyer for one of Sydney’s landmark commercial building, the City Ford site in Woolloomooloo.
The Art Deco-style building at 75 Crown Street, occupied by Ford as a multi-storey showroom between 1938 and 2012, was bought by Sydney fund manager Centennial Property Group for more than $100 million on a yield of about 5 per cent.
Vendor Corim East Sydney – a subsidiary of the Hersch family’s JLAB Golden Investments – acquired it for $16 million in 2011.
After the exit of Ford, Corim East redeveloped the 9254 square metre property into a mixed-use commercial and residential building.
The six-storey building with its distinctive heritage-listed facade is fully leased to the East Sydney Private Hospital, a Woolworths supermarket, Wilson Parking as well as the tenants of 22 residential apartments. It brings in annual rent of about $5 million.
Centennial executive director Jonathan Wolf said the site’s mixed-use profile offered a range of opportunities to add value over the longer term.
The off-market sale of 75 Crown Street was negotiated by Josh Allen of JT Allen Real Estate.
“The building is under the height restrictions for the area, so you could potentially add more floors,” Mr Allen said.
In addition, the residential apartments can be sold or subdivided,
75 Crown Street was originally constructed in 1938 for Hastings Deering Pty Ltd (owned by Sydney businessman Harold Hastings Deering) which became the sole metropolitan distributor for the Ford Motor Company.
At one stage Mr Deering was the largest individual Ford dealer in the world, handling 7000 new and 12,000 used cars a year.
It was designed to include a revolutionary system of banked spiral car ramps allowing cars to enter the building and move efficiently between floors.
“It’s a well-documented example of an interwar functionalist style building,” Mr Allen said.
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