Developer and investor Poly Australia has expanded its footprint in the CBD office market with the purchase of a tower at 59 Goulburn Street in Sydney for $270 million.
In one of the larger deals for the new year, it was sold by SC Capital Partners and is held through fund manager Fortius Funds Management. It was sold to the local arm of the Chinese mega developer on a yield of 4.9 per cent and at $13,867 per square metre, a new benchmark for Sydney’s southern CBD precinct.
The deal has set the tone for what is tipped to be a busy year in office sales, as investors seek a foothold in the strong market. Both Sydney and Melbourne office markets are sitting at record low vacancy rates, as landlords benefit from higher rents due to the low supply.
The local arm of Singaporean group SC Capital and Fortius Funds Management significantly upgraded the 26-storey office tower, which takes up close to 20,000 sq m and was built in 1973.
Poly Australia senior analyst Ashwin Arumugam said the acquisition highlights a shift in strategy for the global real estate business which announced a new push into asset management and real estate finance back in 2019.
“Goulburn Street is a golden example of the types of property we’re looking to acquire as we broaden our portfolio,” Mr Arumugam.
“We are proactively looking for the next opportunity as part of our accelerated growth plans across Australia, with exploration of prospective acquisitions in leading locations across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide as we continue to expand our asset management portfolio.”
Goulburn Street was purchased with approval for redevelopment into a 38-storey tower with 407 hotel suites and 90 residential units, retail and office spaces, however, Poly Australia does not plan to pursue redevelopment at this time.
SC Capital Partners chairman Suchad Chiaranussati said the underlying office-occupier markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra remain tight, “so our investment strategy is to target short-lease buildings and reposition them into high-quality assets delivering stable, long-term income streams”.
Fortius chief executive Sam Sproats said his group was “delighted to have partnered again with SC Capital on 59 Goulburn Street”.
Co-agents James Barber, Adam Woodward and James Mitchell from Colliers International and Simon Storry, Rob Sewell and James Aroney from JLL negotiated the transaction.
It come as sales volumes in Australia’s office investment market surpassed the $20 billion mark for the first time in 2019, according to JLL’s annual Australian Office Investment Review & Outlook 2020.
The record $22.5 billion in office transactions follows on from the previous record of $19.87 billion set in 2018.
JLL’s head of Australian office investments, Rob Sewell, said the challenge for investors in 2020 will be accessing product as the pool of potential vendors is more limited.
“Australian real estate investment trusts (A-REITs) were net buyers in 2019 and with office-centric A-REITs trading at a premium to NTA [net tangible assets], it is accretive for them to buy assets. In addition, a number of REITs raised fresh equity in 2019 which is yet to be deployed,” Mr Sewell said.
“The large Australian wholesale funds are well supported by the superannuation sector and will be competitive when core assets become available in 2020.”
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