$413m commercial development to be a catalyst for change across North Sydney’s CBD


LPPL8411_177 Retail_V02_CafeAustralia’s property leaders gathered at a Property Council of Australia (PCA) event in Sydney on 16 October 2014, to hear an expert panel discuss why North Sydney is on the cusp of a dramatic and long-awaited revitalisation as it sets to cater for an influx of thousands of workers and residents within the next two years.

The panellists are Peter Clemesha, Project Director, Leighton Properties; Warwick Winn, General Manager, North Sydney Council; Peter Flint, Managing Director, CBRE, North Sydney; and Garry Rothwell, Chairman, Winten Property Group.

One theme on which the panellists agree is that the $413 million high-rise commercial development at 177 Pacific Highway will redefine the North Sydney CBD skyline and have a profound effect on the locale and community, resulting in the rapid transformation of the area.

North Sydney’s newest commercial building in six years, 177 Pacific Highway has set a benchmark in commercial development and office design for North Sydney, offering 40,000sq m of A-grade commercial space across 30 levels.

The Leighton Properties development will offer a public space for office workers and local residents. The Garden Plaza, an indoor, all-weather garden rising 13 metres behind a glass façade, is the first of its kind in North Sydney and mirrors similar public spaces being incorporated by developers in vibrant international Asian cities such as Singapore. The naturally-ventilated garden offers stylish, comfortable seating, cafés and a restaurant, and has been designed to be a hub of activity and interaction for the local business and residential community.

Mark Gray, Managing Director of Leighton Properties, said: “Leighton Properties is building a strong reputation for creating landmark developments across Australia that transform and reinvigorate their locations. Our focus is to bring business and residential communities together to create truly modern cities. 177 Pacific Highway is an outstanding example of our vision. It has been supported by the renewed drive by North Sydney Council to support the area’s anticipated growth with improved facilities and public spaces.

“North Sydney’s appeal is increasing and we have been pleased with the level of interest we have received from prospective tenants for 177 Pacific Highway. There is no other A-grade space in North Sydney that provides contiguous levels with Sydney Harbour views, large floor plates and quality onsite amenities. Currently, 23 levels are leased and only six Skyrise levels remain.”

A study by MacroPlan Dimasi predicts that by 2016 there will be 39,000 workers and 10,000 residents in the North Sydney area. These figures will be boosted by the arrival of approximately 3,000 workers at 177 Pacific Highway, which is scheduled for completion in 2016.

As a result of recent residential demand at the fringe of North Sydney’s CBD there is an emerging trend to convert old commercial buildings into apartments. The main driver of demographic change in the North Shore CBD is the increasing appeal of the area to young adults seeking inner city accommodation close to employment and entertainment, with 27%* of North Sydney’s residential population aged 25-34 years. Some 62%* of the area’s residents hold tertiary qualifications, providing a ready workforce for leading organisations wishing to base themselves in North Sydney.

According to Mr Flint, North Sydney’s prime vacancy rate for commercial buildings was 4.7% as at July 2014, well below the average of 7.7% during the past 14 years. Interest from existing North Sydney tenants looking to upgrade into newer office space in the area, and interest from tenants looking to move to North Sydney from Sydney’s CBD, is strong and has increased in recent months.

Mr Flint said: “CBRE is confident North Sydney’s commercial leasing market is entering a solid period of growth. With tenant interest up for prime commercial space, this is having a flow-on effect to existing buildings, with some landlords moving quickly to upgrade their buildings to compete with new offerings. We are seeing a very strong focus on the offering of significantly improved tenant amenities, including end-of-trip facilities, lobby treatments and retail offerings. As a result, North Sydney is boosting its position as one of Australia’s most vibrant and convenient places to live, work and play.”

Mr Winn said: “With new developments under construction and in the pipeline, we are confident North Sydney will retain its position as a strong centre providing good returns on investment generating both rental income and capital growth.

“However, CBDs are living organisms and it is important that we continue to look to the future. This year, Council has developed a suite of strategies that support the current growth and will contribute to increased vibrancy in the district.”

The strategies include:

– a new traffic and pedestrian plan that will improve flow around the district;

– a new look and feel for the public domain;

– the redesign of Brett Whiteley Place to create an arts and cultural hub;

– the development of new planning controls to allow late night trading; and

– a marketing and events strategy that will be launched early next year.

For more information
Helen Wright
National Marketing Manager
Phone+61 2 9925 6111

*North Sydney Community Strategic Plan 2013-2023