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Sailing veteran Harburg to sell $150m properties

February 14, 2018

The building at 260 Queen Street is described as an "iconic core office asset and arguably Brisbane's best located asset". Photo: Supplied

Sydney to Hobart sailing veteran Peter Harburg has made a call to sell two of his last major office towers in Brisbane worth well over $150 million, including Westpac’s local headquarters.

Mr Harburg, who has completed 12 Sydney to Hobart races in the famous Blackjack yacht, said the market was strong and that influenced his decision to sell out.

“I’m 76 now and I think it’s time to start doing more important things like sailing boats and driving cars,” Mr Harburg told The Australian Financial Review.

“The market is very strong at the moment – it’s a supply and demand thing and at the moment the demand is very strong and this has certainly helped influence the decision to sell.”

Peter Harburg on his boat Blackjack. "I'm 76 now and I think it's time to start doing more important things like sailing boats." Photo:  Glenn Hunt

Peter Harburg on his boat Blackjack. “I’m 76 now and I think it’s time to start doing more important things like sailing boats.” Photo: Glenn Hunt

Mr Harburg acquired a number of Brisbane office buildings over the years, including 50 Ann Street which he has since sold for $131.8 million to Asian group Capital Trust and 348 Edward Street Brisbane which he sold to US property group Hines for about $50 million.

Now his private investment company Harburg Investments has appointed CBRE’s Bruce Baker, Tom Phipps and Flint Davidson to steer the sale of his remaining CBD assets – 260 Queen Street and 95 North Quay – with the assets to be offered either as a portfolio or individually.

Mr Baker said the campaign was expected to attract significant interest given that both properties were extremely well located and offered different income streams and capital-related outcomes.

“Last year was a very active year for the Brisbane office investment market, with new investors and foreign capital attracted by the comparatively attractive yield spread to Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Baker said.

“A well-researched consensus is that Brisbane offers net effective rental growth going forward over the next five years, with Brisbane having become the second fastest growing white-collar employment market in the country.”

Key drawcard

The agents describe the tower at 260 Queen Street – occupied by anchor tenant Westpac since it was constructed – as an “iconic core office asset and arguably Brisbane’s best located asset”.

The building has a net lettable area of 13,300 square metres and offers large 1000sq m podium floor plates with 20 high-rise floors above.

A prime retail amenity is located on the ground floor, the majority of which is occupied by Westpac as a retail banking chambers.

“The building’s super prime Queen Street location near Central Train Station and the Queen Street Mall shopping precinct will be a key drawcard for prospective purchasers and tenants alike,” CBRE’s Mr Phipps said.

“There is existing development approval for a glass box-style podium refurbishment as well as the potential to extend the existing floor plates and/or reconfigure the retail space.”

The boutique A-grade building at 95 North Quay, in Brisbane’s legal precinct, is predominantly occupied by barristers and legal professionals and provides a current net lettable area of 8710sq m.

“While the building is currently 58 per cent occupied, there is a clear opportunity to ‘re-set’ the asset to capitalise on Brisbane’s improving occupier market,” Mr Phipps said.

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