Australia News


It Begins: Queens Wharf Demolition And Advertising Plans Unveiled

It might only be the initial hoarding and very early branding concepts, but for Queenslanders the first plans for Queens Wharf signals the start of a new era. The new Queens Wharf lodgement includes advertising plans alongside a  detailed, staged demolition management plan for four non-Heritage buildings, bracing for Heritage buildings (retention works), installation of vibration monitoring equipment to the fabric of certain heritage buildings and dilapidation reports. Initial advertising concept and placements with plans for ‘monitoring equipment and hoarding’ covers Queens Wharf Road, William Street, Mary Street, George Street, Margaret Street, and Elizabeth and Alice Streets. The Minister for Economic Development Queensland acknowledged receipt of the plans on 2 December, 2016. While the proposed works do not involve demolition of any heritage buildings or features, there is potential for heritage impact to occur if the process is not managed appropriately. Therefore, included in the plans is complex vibration monitoring strategies and extensive bracing concepts to prevent any damage to surrounding Heritage sites including archaeological deposits that underpin the early significance of Brisbane. A “skeletal remains” procedure manual is also enclosed, as is standard for significant site demolition….

Australia News


Macau casino king Loi snaps up ExxonMobil HQ

In a sign of the times, a Macau casino king has emerged as the buyer for energy giant’s ExxonMobil’s $160 million headquarters in Melbourne’s Southbank. Mr Loi Keong Kuong, the owner of the Rio Casino in Macau, is understood to be the buyer of the prominent waterside office tower. The casino king has made a series of recent property investments in Singapore and has been a bidder on other Melbourne assets. The US energy giant began moves to sell its Southbank headquarters in June, appointing JLL’s James Kaufman, Langton McHarg, and David Bowden to find a buyer. The 22,000-square-metre office building at 12 Riverside Quay is one of Southbank’s most prized assets, sitting on a large site overlooking the Yarra River. Once known as the Esso headquarters, the tower was designed by Peddle Thorp and built in 1995. It features a curtain wall of chrome and tinted glass, with distinctive curved sections. Its podium includes a large rainforest atrium. The deal was negotiated on the buy side by Melbourne-educated Isabella Tse, who now leads property investment firm Reliance Future, based in…

Australia News


Sports giant adidas leases and opens in Rundle Mall in Adelaide

Sportswear giant Adidas has leased the retail property at 148 Rundle Mall for a flagship store in Adelaide CBD. The 467-square-metre store has a glazed eight-metre frontage to Rundle Mall, double-height ceilings on the ground floor and rear loading access from Porters Lane. The launch of the adidas’ Adelaide branch follows openings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane earlier this year. Colliers International’s Ben Laycock and local investor Castenada negotiated the deal for The Zorich Group on a lease term of five years with options. The rent is confidential, but industry sources said gross annual rents in the area were about $2000 to $2500 a square metre. More space Cognizant Technology Solutions has leased a part-floor office in Melbourne’s 15 William Street for five years to accommodate its growth after acquiring another business, Odecee​ Software. CBRE’s Patrick Mount and Mark Bolis negotiated the 1400sq m lease deal on level 6. The net annual rent was confidential but industry sources put it down in the high $300 a square metre. New branch Westpac Bank has signed a seven-year lease of a 185sq…

Australia News


FJMT wins The Star’s new Ritz-Carlton hotel design

Sydney’s skyline will get a new 60-level tower after Star Entertainment Group chose architects FJMT to design a new six-star hotel and apartments complex for its Pyrmont site. The $500 million tower marks the return to the NSW capital of Marriott’s premium Ritz-Carlton brand and is part of a wider $1 billion renovation that Sydney’s incumbent casino is making as it gears up to compete with rival Crown’s planned 71-storey tower across Darling Harbour at Barangaroo. FJMT’s design, chosen out of a competition that pitted it against local rival BVN and UK-based Grimshaw Architects, is for a building that is slim at the base and tapers outward at the top. Local sandstone, out of which much of 19th-century Sydney was built, will feature in the base of the building and will “feather up” – or fade out – out as the tower rises. The design does not increase the gaming components of Star’s facility, but gives its associated accommodation, food and beverage and surrounding attractions a much-needed boost. The final design is due to be submitted to the state’s planning and environment…

Australia News


China’s HNA Group buys Melbourne conference centre

Giant Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, a major shareholder in Virgin Australia, has snapped up the Aitken Hill conference centre in Melbourne’s north for around $100 million. The 69-hectare site, with 6000 sq m of conferencing facilities and 124 hotel rooms near Melbourne Airport was offered with the potential to add a seven-hectare retirement village and a 630-lot residential estate on undeveloped portions of the picturesque estate. Its sale to HNA Group is the latest in a string of Melbourne land acquisitions by Chinese companies, who are turning their attentions to the greenfield market as demand for inner city Melbourne apartments slows. Earlier this week, Chinese developer Dahua purchased three huge sites at Point Cook in Melbourne’s west for around $360 million with the potential to develop them into more than $1 billion worth of new housing. The Australian Financial Review contacted representatives of HNA Australia but they had not responded by the time of publication. HNA Group, a Fortune 500 company with annual revenues of almost $US30 billion ($40 billion) and $US58 billion of assets, has investments spanning aviation, real estate, financial services, tourism…

Australia News


Chinese property heavyweight muscles in on land development

Chinese property heavyweight Dahua Group has outmuscled local developers to snap up a billion-dollar land pipeline in a buying spree that has handed a wealthy family, a syndicate of landowners and two young property players a $347 million windfall. Dahua Group’s purchase of three large land parcels in Point Cook in Melbourne’s west for $347 million mirrors a year-long buying spree in Sydney’s south-west that had the Shanghai-based group spend more than $400 million on a three growth area sites in Bardia and Menangle Park. Melbourne has climbed its way into the world’s top skyscraper cities, with more than 100 buildings over 100 metres. The east coast land purchases, along with several city-based projects in Sydney and Melbourne, will catapult China’s 310th richest man into one of the Australia’s largest land developers with a potential pipeline of 8750 lots worth more than $2.5 billion. Little is known about Dahua’s Jin Huiming, who is ranked 310 on Forbes’ China rich list. His company – previously a collective – is estimated to be worth about $1.1 billion and is among the country’s…

Australia News


Vacant Melbourne block ‘doubles’ value in 12 months

An empty suburban block in Melbourne’s blue-chip inner suburb of South Yarra sold on the weekend for $2.75 million, or nearly twice its sale price from about 12 months ago. But half the auctions in neighbouring Toorak, which has been a recent favourite with local and overseas buyers, were passed in, having failed to find a buyer at poorly attended sales, according to agents. Rising interest rates, a slowing economy and concerns about affordability are sending mixed messages to buyers and sellers for the year’s final two weekends of auctions in Melbourne and Sydney, the nation’s leading real estate markets. Paul Castran, chief executive of Castran Gilbert, a Melbourne real estate agency, said there was strong demand from cashed-up downsizers who had sold the family home and were looking to move into low maintenance, luxury accommodation close to amenities. “There is a lack of supply and strong demand,” Mr Castran said. He sold the 518 square metre empty block of land in Kensington Road, South Yarra, that had been hived off from a neighbouring apartment block. It was sold with the caveat…

Australia News


Crown Towers Perth: Australia’s most expensive hotel opens

On that longed-for day when I unexpectedly inherit a lavish tropical retreat from a long-forgotten relative, my first command to my assembled army of servants will be to ensure that my swimming pool is always be heated to 30 degrees. This, I have discovered, is the perfect water temperature for days when the mercury soars towards the 40 degree mark: cool enough to refresh you, but warm enough not to send shivers through your body when plunge in. This piece of important information I learn at Crown Towers Perth, where they have nailed exactly the right water temperature for their expansive lagoon-style pool. That is not the only thing they have nailed at Perth’s newest luxury hotel, as I discover during my stay just prior to the official opening.Crown Towers Perth needs to get it right. The latest addition to Crown’s Perth complex, which already includes the Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade hotels, took two years to build, at a cost of $650 million. “It’s the most expensive hotel ever constructed in Australia,” executive general manager Andrew Cairns tells me. The…

Australia News


Double whammy slams Hong Kong developer stocks

Hong Kong developer stocks have gone from being the top performers to the worst, slammed by home price curbs and the expectation of rate hikes following Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential election. Developers surged 11 per cent in the first 10 months of the year to rank as the best performers in that period and helped steer Hong Kong’s benchmark index to its peak in September. That reversed in November as developers slumped 6.6 per cent, leading the pack of losers on the Hang Seng Index. Sun Hung Kai Properties and New World Development. are among stocks that plunged 10 per cent or more last month. Hong Kong’s property market, after weathering dramatic boom-and-bust cycles over the past two decades, is poised for a leg down as higher borrowing costs and additional levies deflate buyer demand. The city’s currency peg to the greenback ensures that interest rates follow those of the US, where expectations of a rate increase have shot up since the election. Meanwhile, the city’s leaders moved suddenly on November 4 to cool prices in the…

Australia News


China plans further crackdown on outward investment

China’s government is planning to introduce new restrictions on foreign investment deals in a bid to stem capital outflows, a move that will be felt across the globe as Chinese companies have been on a buying spree this year. While Beijing will still support outbound investments that fit with the operations of a company and their international expansion plans, it will take a tougher stance on financial investments, according to Xu Hongcai, deputy chief economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a government think-tank. “We will strengthen investigations and checks on big investments,” Mr Xu told the Australian Financial Review. His comments come after it was reported that Beijing was planning to ban overseas investments of more than $US10 billion and mergers and acquisitions valued at more than $US1 billion if they are not part of a company’s core business. State-owned companies would also be banned from foreign real estate deals involving investment of over $US1 billion, according to the South China Morning Post. The expected introduction of stricter controls on outbound investment come as China’s foreign exchange reserves have…

Australia News


The grand plan to revamp the home of the Australian Open

A STATE-of-the-art redevelopment is being served up to make the home of the Australian Open the best grand slam venue in the world. Features of Melbourne’s tennis precinct include a new public piazza, sunken show court, function centre and eastern entrance. A new court to seat 5000 fans will be built between Rod Laver and Hisense arenas as part of the next phase of the Melbourne Park expansion. Two more courts to seat another 2000 spectators and a new grassed viewing area are also planned as event directors aim to capitalise on record crowds and improve the fan experience during the popular tennis event. Exclusive images obtained by the Herald Sun give a preview of the grand vision. The $338.1 million stage two of the redevelopment is expected to be finished by 2021; however, a new footbridge from the CBD to the precinct will be open in time for the January 2017 tournament. For stage three, developers will turn their attention to the Central Terrace — a new concourse topped by a wavelike terrace roof. It will provide a new entrance to…

Australia News


Government tech changes to give startups a $560 million boost

The government will today outline plans to shake up the way it delivers services via technology, opening up as much as $560 million for spending with startups and smaller technology companies. The moves come as part of a much-anticipated taskforce into government ICT procurement, which will be launched by Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor at an InnovationAus conference in Canberra. At the event Mr Taylor will release a discussion paper and call for private sector submissions into opening up the government’s $5.6 billion annual tech budget to innovative smaller companies that have previously been excluded from doing business with government departments. In his speech, parts of which have been seen by The Australian Financial Review, Mr Taylor will compare existing government online services to trucks lumbering along the highway, in comparison to private sector firms’ apps and websites being like Ferraris. He says 10 per cent of the $5.6 billion spent annually by the government on contracting companies to deliver ICT services could be redirected towards encouraging innovation, which would be twice the amount spent on the…

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