The Hour Glass spends $82m for prime city corner

With the purchase of 171 Edward Street, a proposed 81 level skyscraper is scuppered.

The Hour Glass has paid $82.2 million for a prominent Brisbane property part-occupied by one of its brands.

The deal is with Dexus, which acquired the c1949 building, 171 Edward Street, at the corner of Elizabeth (pictured, top), from Tim Forrester’s Aria Property Group in mid-2019.

The Hour Glass paid $68 million for 139 Collins Street in 2020. An office component is now for lease.

At the time, the 1521 square metre Principal Centre zoned holding was permitted for an 81 level skyscraper with 646 flats.

Dexus, it was speculated, was intending an office, possibly incorporating a neighbouring property, 229 Elizabeth St, owned by the Catholic Church and part-operated as the Australian Catholic University.

Presently containing 2050 sqm over two floors, 171 Edward St is occupied by THG’s Hermes and Montblanc, a Richemont Group brand.

Settlement is scheduled this month.

Elsewhere in the CBD, Dexus recently sold 12 Creek St (also known as The Blue Tower) for a $450m headline price, and, with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, 10 Eagle St (the Gold Tower), for $285m.

The buyer in both instances was Marquette Properties, the former, backed by Lendlease’s Real Estate Partners 4.

Last week we reported Dexus pre-committed Boeing to a third of a 31 storey office being renovated at 123 Albert St, in the city.

The group is also creating a project suspected to carry a c$2 billion end value on Eagle Street Pier sites (story continues below).

Justin Hemmes last month purchased Sydney properties until recently earmarked to form part of a 49 level tower.

Last month, in a similar deal to 171 Edward St, but in Sydney, hotelier Justin Hemmes paid $200m for low-rise CBD properties to occupy, ending a 49 level office skyscraper proposal.

More to come?

Incorporating 151-155, 159, 161 and 171 Edward St and 211 and 211A Elizabeth St, the Brisbane retail property was valued last December at $71.5m which assumed a 3.59 per cent yield and 4.5pc capitalisation rate.

Dexus controls significant retail in Melbourne’s eastern core as part of its 80 Collins Street development.

“The acquisition…is in line with the group’s strategy of owning properties at prime locations in selected cities,” the Singapore listed buyer said.

Last year, in Melbourne, THG outlaid $35m for a two storey, 536 sqm retail space leased to Balenciaga on the ground floor of 181 Collins, and $68m for a standalone asset in the street (#139), majority tenanted to Louis Vuitton (coincidentally an office component of this building recently hit the market for lease).

Dexus too owns a substantial chunk of shopping space in the area following the completion of its $1.46b 80 Collins St project which incorporated historic buildings, the ex-Le Louvre (also known as 74 Collins St) and neighbouring former Commercial Bank of Australia branch (#68-72).

The group also controls the ex-Reserve Bank of Australia office, across the road (60 Collins), recently permitted for a major redevelopment with lower level retail.

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Marc Pallisco

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