Singapore group swoops on two Docklands offices

The Innovation Building at 192 Harbour Esplanade.

Singapore listed Straits Trading Company has substantially increased its exposure to Melbourne, outlaying c$150 million for two neighbouring mid-rise offices opposite Victoria Harbour, at Docklands.

The assets – 1010 La Trobe Street, also known as Customs House, and the Innovation Building at 192 Harbour Esplanade, were offered by City Harbour, until recently known as Digital Harbour, controlled by the Liberman family, Qualitas co-founder Andrew Schwartz, Michael Kohn, David Napier and Russell Nisbet.

A 163-bay car park forming the podium of 1000 La Trobe St also forms part of the deal.

Colliers’ John Marasco, Anna Cavar, Oliver Hay and Adam Woodward with CBRE’s Mark Coster, Kiran Pillai, Scott McGlone and Stuart McCann were the agents; Artifex Property is a co-purchaser.

The deal comes about two years since Straits and Commercial & General paid ESR $24m for a 2.25 hectare industrial estate at 677 Springvale Road, Mulgrave.

In 2018, the partnership spent $130.5m on five Australian commercial assets including, in Melbourne, the prominent office/warehouse occupied by Siemens at 885 Mountain Highway, Bayswater which set it back c$50m.

Docklands assets

One of Docklands’ first buildings, 1010 La Trobe Street (pictured, top), at the north east corner of Harbour Esp, contains 15,354 square metres of A-grade area over nine floors with unobstructed marina views that can’t be built out.

Fully occupied, the Department of Home Affairs and VicTrack are they key occupiers (story continues below).

The National Pension Service of Korea paid $1.2 billion – the highest price outlaid for an Australian office last year – for the proposed 699 Collins Street.

A planned upgrade includes new end-of-trip facilities, redesigned ground floor lobby and refurbishment of the communal areas across each floor.

Neighbouring this, 192 Harbour Esp, at the south east corner of Digital Drive, rises five storeys with 5779 sqm majority occupied by the National Broadband Network.

Combined the two assets cover a 6811 sqm site.

“Both properties are supported by strong transport nodes with a tram station at the doorstep providing convenient and quick access to the CBD,” a Straits statement said.

The holding is walking distance to Southern Cross station too, it added.

“Despite lockdowns and restrictions on workplaces in the past year, the transaction is in line with the group’s business expansion plans and is reflective of [subsidiary] Straits Real Estate’s confidence in a post-COVID recovery of Melbourne commercial real estate”.

The deal comes six months since the National Pension Service of Korea paid Lendlease $1.2b for an office under construction at 699 Collins Street, diagonally adjacent to Southern Cross station.

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Marc Pallisco

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