Ashurst – which turned 200 last year – will relocate its Sydney headquarters within Martin Place.
The law firm has committed to 10,000 square metres, or a third, of #39, one of two offices earmarked for airspace over the Martin Place Metro, between Castlereagh and Elizabeth streets.
It is the first commitment at the 28 level Premium grade building which Investa and Canada-based Manulife acquired for $800 million from Macquarie two years ago.
Completion is scheduled in 2024.
The deal comes as city leasing agents and the Property Council of Australia say that, despite CBD office vacancy increasing over the past six months, from 12 to 12.5 per cent, demand is returning after three years.
Melbourne in particular has seen a wave of significant commitments including, last week, Allianz for 6500 sqm at Charter Hall and GIC’s 555 Collins St, which is under construction.
Last year, meanwhile, advertising agency Clemenger announced it would relocate from its long-time St Kilda Road base to 7500 sqm of the Bourke Street Mall’s ex-David Jones Menswear store, being repurposed by Newmark.
Ashurst’s global headquarters is in London.
Ashurst will relocate from 5 Martin Pl – incorporating the historic ‘Money Box’ building – an asset once held by the federal government but nowadays owned by Cbus and Dexus.
It will downsize too, from a 16,000 sqm tenancy it leased in 2012 and moved into three years later.
The law firm was previously based at Grosvenor Place.
“This move is aligned with Ashurst’s global strategy to create sustainable, collaborative, and agile working environments,” partner and division head, Strategic Advisory, Lea Constantine, said.
“The green credentials…are very impressive and in line with the firm’s own sustainability goals and commitment to reducing our carbon footprint,” she added.
“Our new workplace will be a step towards achieving our vision to be the most progressive global law firm, and represents a significant investment in our people, our clients and the way we want to work” (story continues below).
Elsewhere in the street, co-work outfit Hub Australia recently leased 3000 sqm across three floors at #44, owned by Macquarie.
The tenant is planning an uber-luxury fit out with a 400-desk office, business lounge, aperitivo bar and concierge.
“The incredibly high demand for premium workspaces in Sydney is showing no sign of slowing down, and this flagship site responds directly to the expectations of next-generation professionals who are embracing new ways of working and expect a holistic and seamless workspace experience that goes beyond desks and square metres,” Hub chief property officer, John Preece, said.
It will be the group’s 15th facility.
Ashurst goes all electric
Ashurst has leased lower levels at 39 Martin Pl.
The building is also designed with 2000 sqm of retail.
It and the proposed second tower, which will be Macquarie’s headquarters, will be amongst Sydney’s first all-electric offices.
“Securing Ashurst as an anchor tenant validates our decision to acquire this asset,” Brendan Looby, the manager of the Investa Commercial Property Fund, which will control it, said.
“The addition of 39 Martin Pl will further improve the quality of the fund, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, delivering its investor base an attractive 9.5pc total return over the life of the fund,” according to the executive.
Manulife senior managing director, Asia Real Estate Asset Management, Kenneth Tsang, added the lease deal is also a win for its stakeholders.
“This is exactly what we do at Manulife Investment Management – as an entrepreneurial investment manager we are committed to delivering sustainable results with institutional discipline,” he said.
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