Controversy over Chinese billionaire and political donor Huang Xiangmo’s ties to Labor Senator Sam Dastyari could well have helped local property fund manager Charter Hall win the right to buy a prized property overlooking Hyde Park in Sydney for about $350 million.
Mr Huang, the head of Yuhu Group, was until last month the head of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China.
The Australian Financial Review understands his Yuhu Group was one of the lead parties to buy a 15-storey building at 231 Elizabeth Street, Sydney at a price of about $360 million, knocking local competitor Charter Hall out of the running.
Sources said however, that a safe and swift deal with Charter Hall instead of the Yuhu Group, whose founder allegedly received a tip-off from Senator Dastyari about a surveillance operation, was now a certainty.
The deal is shrouded in secrecy with Charter Hall declining to comment and the agents negotiating the deal JLL and Colliers also unavailable for comment.
The building is leased to Telstra until 2020 and Telstra is currently reviewing the lease where it has three five-year options in the building.
While Yuhu was a lead party to buy the 23,275-square-metre property, others, including the Hong Kong-based Mah family and Chinese group Dayfull, were also said to have been looking at buying the property which could be redeveloped for a premium hotel or apartment project.
It is understood the building’s owner, Singapore-based Chinese investment house Bright Ruby, has now opted to go ahead with Charter Hall, which has been buying up trophy commercial real estate for major local superannuation funds and overseas institutional grade investors.
The security and speedy approval from Charter Hall to execute on a deal has now won it the day.
While the final price is not been made public it is expected to be a lot less than the $360 million that Yuhu was said to have reached.
A yield in the mid-5 per cent range is likely.
Major Australian property fund manager Investa sold 231 Elizabeth Street to China’s private Bright Ruby for $201 million in 2013.
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