New government organisation AFCA signs major office lease at Charter Hall’s Wesley Place

Artist’s impression of the office under construction at 130 Lonsdale Street in the Melbourne CBD.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) – which formed six weeks ago following the merge of the former Financial Ombudsman Services, Superannuation Complaints Tribunal and Credit Investments Ombudsman – has signed a major office rental agreement in the Melbourne CBD.

AFCA has agreed to a 12-year lease deal for approximately 7600 square metres, being levels 24 to 27, of 130 Lonsdale Street, a $700 million tower under construction as part of Charter Hall’s $1.2 billion Wesley Place development.

The AFCA lease takes occupancy of 130 Lonsdale Street to more than three quarters.

The 35-level tower, with 55,000 sqm of Premium grade space, will include a wellness centre, business hub and concierge service, as well as “one of the largest end-of-trip facilities in Melbourne”.

Another new office is earmarked to rise 22 storeys at 140 Lonsdale Street, while an existing 29-level building at 150 Lonsdale Street is being renovated as part of Wesley Place development.

The project will also include retail and public spaces built around the c1858 heritage protected bluestone Wesley Uniting Church.

Charter Hall Prime Office Fund (CPOF) manager Matthew Brown said “welcoming AFCA to the Wesley Place development is a great milestone and demonstrates the strong leasing momentum we have been able to create with approximately 78 per cent of the asset secured”.

“Upon completion, Wesley Place will further enhance CPOF’s portfolio quality and total return metrics and deliver our Fund Investors a coveted new Premium Grade office building in the tightly held Melbourne CBD core office precinct.

“This new lease demonstrates our approach to securing significant tenant pre-commitments to de-risk the approximately $1.3 billion of committed projects that we have underway nationally within our office funds management platform. The depth of our internal development capabilities, with experienced teams based in each major capital city means that we are able to collaborate with our tenant customers to deliver great workspace experiences as well as create institutional quality investment opportunities in the office sector,” Mr Brown said.

Chief executive officer and chief ombudsman of AFCA, David Locke, added “AFCA is a new organisation providing consumers and small business owners with fair, free and independent solutions to their financial disputes. Our new premises at Wesley Place will enable our Melbourne staff to deliver a high quality and flexible service”.

Since marketing of Wesley Place office space commenced last year, Vanguard committed to 10,528 sqm, Cbus Super leased 9,201 sqm and Telstra agreed to rent 3,344 sqm. The Uniting Church in Australia will also be an occupier.

The office at 130 Lonsdale Street is expected to be complete in mid-2020.

Tim Farley, National Director of Colliers International’s Tenant Advisory department represented AFCA in their accommodation review and negotiation process.

Wesley Place is being built on a 7445 sqm site Charter Hall acquired control of, from the Uniting Church, in 2016.

Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and analyst, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

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