Billionaire developer Lang Walker will soon begin building the country’s biggest office tower in Sydney’s west after winning a major state government tenancy for his Parramatta project.
The Parramatta Square development will become home to 4200 public servants after Mr Walker’s Walker Corporation won a Property NSW tender to lease up to 43,800 square metres of office space in 2021.
The win comes after the two joined Parramatta office buildings – they have an end value of $1.7 billion – were given the green light by Sydney Central City Planning Panel just before Christmas.
Known as 6 and 8 Parramatta Square, the joined buildings, one on top of the other, will become the largest commercial office tower in Australia comprising 125,000 square metres, exceeding even the largest Barangaroo tower.
The government tenancy gives Mr Walker a sufficient commitment to make the joined towers feasible, with construction expected get under way within the next year.
The joined towers will take their place within Mr Walker’s larger four-tower $3.2 billion development within the Parramatta Square precinct which is already well underway.
The first tower, Tower 4 is expected to be completed in November 2019 and the whole project due for completion in 2022.
The NSW government has agreed to a 12-year lease, with two further five-year options, for the space in 6 Parramatta Square.
Mr Walker and his team have also secured financial services group Link Market Services which will shift its Sydney offices from Rhodes to the Parramatta Square development in 2021.
Further south, Link is also key tenant in Walker Corp’s $2.5 billion Collins Square multi-tower development in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.
Towers 3 and 4 at the Parramatta project are fully pre-committed, with tenants including National Australia Bank and the NSW government secured in an earlier tender.
“Parramatta Square is taking shape quickly and the total project is now 75 per cent pre-leased with over 170,000 square metres of high quality office space committed,” Mr Walker said.
“We expect to experience a strong flow of pre-leases off the back of the two anchor tenants signing long-term leases in the project, which is one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country and will see Parramatta city rival Sydney’s CBD in terms of amenity and high quality commercial space.”
Charter Hall has also completed a building in the precinct, One Parramatta Square, or 1PSQ, which is the 26,500-square-metre home to the Western Sydney University.
Plans for the redevelopment of the three-hectare block now known as Parramatta Square were first mooted some 20 years ago. Walker Corp won a tender for its development in the precinct in 2015.
The project will be able to take advantage of the future Parramatta Light Rail, while access to the existing train station will be made available through a new link into the square.
As well as the university campus and commercial buildings, the mixed-use precinct includes retail space, community facilities, a civic building, community centre, library and a 250-metre-long public domain.
The western Sydney hub has been singled out as a key part of the future development of Sydney under plans unveiled in 2016 by the Greater Sydney Commission.
A broader wave of redevelopment is under way in Parramatta, attracting developers and spurring the market in commercial real estate such as GPT’s $277.6 million acquisition of the Eclipse tower from super fund Rest in August 2018.
In 2018, GPT won approval for a $230 million office tower development on the corner of Smith and Phillip streets, in a project designed by Fender Katsalidis.
Also last year, Charter Hall teamed up again with Western Sydney University with plans to develop a $280 million education and commercial office project at Parramatta.
In 2017, Dexus sold a tower development on Phillip Street in Parramatta – set to be the headquarters for the NSW government’s Department of Education – to Charter Hall for $229 million.
The country’s largest office landlord returned to the Parramatta market last year, gaining approval to develop a $500 million building. The 33-storey tower at 140 George Street will deliver 45,700 square metres of space.