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Chinese buyer in final negotiations to buy Lendlease’s The Exchange

December 5, 2018

Lendlease has a buyer for The Exchange, an eye-catching, seven-storey building in Darling Square. Photo: Supplied

Lendlease has secured an overseas Chinese buyer for The Exchange building at Darling Square in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, also known as the “bird nest”, at a net yield of more than 4 per cent.

While the price of the sale is confidential, it is understood to be in the vicinity of $70 million.

A deal has been struck and Lendlease and the buyer are now negotiating commercial terms prior to a formal agreement, it is understood.

Lendlease has a buyer for The Exchange, an eye-catching, seven-storey building in Darling Square.
The commercial property, designed by international architects Kengo Kuma & Associates, was sold fully-leased with pre-commitments to about 12 retailers as well as the City of Sydney, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the operators of Chinese restaurant Golden Century.

The mixed-use building will have ground-floor food and beverage shops while the future Golden Century restaurant – likely to offer “fusion Asian” cuisine – will likely sit at the mezzanine level.

There will be two levels of childcare leased to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as well as a new library run by the City of Sydney Council.

While Chinese buyers have steered away from residential development or investments, commercial properties such as The Exchange still hold great value for these buyers due to their strong income and cashflows.

The location of the building in the heart of the CBD close to Chinatown was key to the transaction, it is understood.

Strong purchases

Other recent strong commercial purchases nearby include the $145.8 million sale of the fully-leased office tower at 187 Thomas Street, Haymarket, in Chinatown to Adelaide-based developer Greaton.

The Exchange, designed by Japanese architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates, is a mixed-use building at the heart of the Darling Square precinct.
Greaton itself is part of Darling Harbour’s facelift – which has been in the works for the past four years and includes Darling Square – and is building a new W Hotel at the development known as The Ribbon.

The Exchange is an eye-catching, seven-storey building in the heart of Darling Square and features circular floor plates and a facade wrapped in 20 kilometres of timber.

Lendlease’s mixed-use precinct Darling Square, which is built on the site of the former Sydney Entertainment Centre, is located at 1 Little Pier Street, Haymarket, and will comprise a series of laneways, open spaces, marketplaces, shops, apartments, workplaces and green avenues.

The third and fourth stage of apartments at Darling Harbour sold out in four hours in 2016. The first and second stage sold in 2014 and 2015, all at the height of the residential boom. Prices of apartments were between $630,000 and $3.5 million.

Other new developments in Darling Harbour include a slew of hotels such as Sydney’s first new-build luxury hotel since the Sydney Olympics, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, the new Crowne Plaza hotel at 60 Bathurst Street and a new Vibe hotel at 319-325 Sussex Street.

Lendlease declined to comment on The Exchange while selling agent CBRE did not respond to calls.

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