Investa, Manulife spend c$800m on Sydney CBD office

Upon completion in three years, 39 Martin Place will contain c30,000 square metres of Premium quality office area over 28 floors.

Macquarie Group Limited has sold an undeveloped Sydney office to a 50:50 venture comprising Investa Commercial Property Fund and Manulife.

The 28-level building, 39 Martin Place, is costing a speculated $800 million.

Earmarked for airspace over the southern entrance to the Martin Pl metro station, which is under construction, the commercial investment should be complete in 2024.

It will contain 30,000 square metres of Premium quality office area.

The lower floors are designed with c2000 sqm of retail.

None of it has been committed.

The skyscraper is one of two Macquarie is building in the pocket near its headquarters; it will move into the other.

ICPF, Manulife to hold trophy tower

ICPF fund manager Brendan Looby said the Martin Pl acquisition is in line with the fund’s strategy “given the superior building quality, super-prime location, leading sustainability and technology features”.

The landlord also has the opportunity to add value through direct leasing.

“This combination of factors is expected to deliver an attractive risk adjusted return to our investors and further reinforces ICPF’s reputation as Australia’s leading prime office fund,” the executive added.

ICPF holds 15 offices worth a total of $6 billion; vacancy is six per cent and the Weighted Average Lease Expiry is five years.

Its partner for the 39 Martin Pl JV, Manulife, is a Toronto based multinational insurance and financial services provider active in the local commercial real estate investment sector since 2017.

Other than offices, it owns logistics assets here (story continues below).

An equal partnership comprising Investa Commercial Property Fund and Manulife is paying Macquarie Group Limited c$800 million for 39 Martin Pl, to be delivered in 2024.

“We are very excited to partner with ICPF and team up with the best-in-class team from Investa on this landmark investment,” that group’s senior managing director, Kenny Lam, said.

“Thirty nine Martin Place will be a top grade office…equipped with one of the highest levels of technology and situated in a prime CBD locale giving unparalleled access to a wide variety of public transport and facilities,” according to the executive.

“Despite some of the headwinds resulting from the pandemic, we are continuing to focus our expansion efforts on the Asia Pacific region and high quality assets, which are supported by strong long-term macro and demographic prospects”.

Investa chief investment officer Peter Menegazzo said the property “provides another opportunity for [the group] to demonstrate its deep leasing capability, and reinforces our strong belief in the Martin Place precinct as a premium office location”.

In the area ICPF, with Gwynvill, recently completed Sixty Martin Place – a 33 level, 40,000 sqm commercial project.

Macquarie and Lendlease will deliver 39 Martin Pl.

Recent major Sydney CBD office deals

The 39 Martin Pl sale comes two weeks after Link REIT paid Blackstone $683m for #100 in the street.

Last month Lendlease outlaid $584.6m on a quarter share of the multi-building 1 Farrer Pl.

In November Chinese Investment Corporation acquired a half-stake in the nearby Grosvenor Place tower for $925m – a deal awaiting Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Nearly a year ago, Dexus and Frasers Property Australia won permission for a $2.5b redevelopment around Central train station set to contain two office complexes.

Also at about that time ISPT was speculated to have been buying the asset ICPF and Manulife has, for close to $1b.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco