Brookfield, Citiplan buy another student accommodation site

Aspial’s 91 level proposal would have pipped the neighbouring Brisbane Skytower.
Brookfield and Citiplan have applied for 31 levels at 240 Margaret Street.

Plans for a 91 storey build to sell apartment tower overlooking Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens have been shelved with the site selling to Brookfield and Citiplan which are planning a student accommodation complex a third the height (artist’s impression, top).

Harry Triguboff’s bought 204 Alice Street (marked) with plans for two towers.

The pair is spending $32 million for the mid-rise office on 1715 square metres at 240 Margaret Street.

The vendor, Aspial, an arm of Singapore listed conglomerate World Class Global, paid South East Queensland Water c$25m for the holding in 2014.

Two years later, Aspial, backed by Fragrance Group director Koh Wee Seng, and also behind Melbourne’s 100 storey Australia 108 project, obtained the permit for the Brisbane megatower, with 783 dwellings.

Brookfield and Citiplan by comparison are aiming for an investment with 930 beds, lower level retail and several activated outdoor spaces including the rooftop.

Penned by COX, the gross floor area is 23,607 sqm.

If approved, the asset will be managed by Citiplan’s Journal Student Living.

Another Brisbane skyscraper planned

The Margaret St site is immediately north of the 44 year old, 17 level The Gardens apartment complex which Sydney developer Harry Triguboff acquired from 108 strata owners in May for c$130m with plans for two build to sell towers, one which will include a serviced apartment component.

The end value of that project, covering 5485 sqm at 204 Alice St, could surpass $1 billion.

It would also be the first project in the Queensland capital for Mr Triguboff’s Meriton in over a decade.

McGees’ Hugh Menck, Jake Taylor and One Global Group’s Darien Bradshaw brokered the 240 Margaret St deal.

World Class Global unsuccessfully tried to sell the site in 2018 (story continues below).

A 49 level student accommodation complex, announced last week in Melbourne.

Brookfield, Citiplan boost portfolio

Scape’s student accommodation proposal at Melbourne’s 21-27 Victoria Street.

Canada based Brookfield with Melbourne’s Citiplan and Journal Student Living formed a partnership last March to supply accommodation for Australia’s $29b international student market.

The national purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) bed total – now c76,500 according to the Property Council of Australia – is expected to surpass 93,000 within two and a half years.

Demand is rising in light of record low residential vacancy rates and the handbrake being put on new product care of rising interest rates sapping demand and booming construction costs and tradespeople slowing supply speed.

In Melbourne last week, Lendlease announced a 1100-bed asset of this type as part of a $1.7b revamp of the Queen Victoria Market car park.

Rising 49 storeys, it would be managed by Scape, which is also proposing student accommodation complexes at 23-29 Victoria St, in the city, and at the ex-Oxfam headquarters site in Carlton.

Brookfield and Citiplan also acquired a Carlton property for an asset, last year.

Mr Menck said the Brisbane site, in the Midtown precinct, is near significant developments including Dexus’ Waterfront Brisbane and the state government’s Queen’s Wharf.

“Our off-market expressions of interest campaign resulted in multiple offers from local, national and offshore developers,” he added.

“The majority of interest received was from developers in the residential accommodation sector, which demonstrates the high level of developer confidence and pent-up demand in this sector,” according to the executive.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of