Vacant office building in education precinct sells to Singaporean investor

Colliers International sells former Qantas headquarters

A group of 11 strata office owners across 18 separate contracts in an 18-level Melbourne city office building has sold its collective tower for $51.5million.

Colliers International’s Trent Hobart, Daniel Wolman, Matt Stagg and Oliver Hay, along with property manager Melcorp’s Charles Vraca, negotiated the transaction on behalf of the separate owners via an international expressions-of-interest campaign, which closed late last month.

The substantial 2,213sqm site at 50 Franklin Street, which comprises an 18-level building with 11,447sqm net lettable area, sold for $4,500 per sqm in a sign of strength in the Melbourne investment market. The major tenant Salmat is expected to vacate in February, 2017.

“It was an extraordinarily rare opportunity to be able to market such a flexible blank canvas in the heart of Melbourne’s thriving education precinct,” Mr Hobart said.

“We were blown away by the interest in this asset, with more than 170 enquiries from parties from all over the globe, including offers from student accommodation developers, hotel developers, schools, universities, residential developers and office investors.”

“Being right in the epicentre of what will become the most densely populated precinct in the world, and with the major universities and higher education institutions growing at a speculated 20 per cent per annum, this precinct will be undersupplied for office and education uses,” Mr Wolman said.

Mr Hobart said the property presented a major value-add opportunity to the buyer, Lian Beng, a listed company from Singapore.

“The company realised the potential of a vacant office building in this precinct, at a time of growing demand in the international education sector and falling yields for commercial offices,” he said.

“Lian Beng is a strong believer in the Melbourne real estate market, with this acquisition being its third in Melbourne. Colliers International is very pleased to have negotiated what is Lian Beng’s largest worldwide transaction outside of Singapore.”

Mr Hay said Colliers International had noticed a resurgence in demand from its Singaporean clients in recent months, particularly for value-add and investment properties.

“Colliers has now transacted more than $150million in the past month to Singaporean clients,” he said.

“The sale of 50 Franklin Street demonstrates the ability for strata owners to achieve a premium price for their assets when they work together and sell their property as a whole,” Mr Stagg said.

Colliers International’s Edward Knowles will be handling the release of the building, which is expected to attract a wide range of interest from parties wanting to be a part of Melbourne’s education precinct and close to the entrance to the new underground metro rail network.

Colliers International investment services Melbour CBD city sales Franklin Street Singapore investment Qantas

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