Milton Leads Brisbane's Booming Fringe Office Market: Knight Frank - Queensland Property Investor
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Milton Leads Brisbane’s Booming Fringe Office Market: Knight Frank

Milton Leads Brisbane's Booming Fringe Office Market

Low vacancy rates, high rents and a lack of suitable offices in Sydney and Melbourne have prompted a flurry of companies to eye Brisbane as a possible solution, with the city’s fringe market experiencing strong activity during the second half of the year.

The latest Brisbane Fringe Office Market Overview released by Knight Frank found there had been a significant uptick in activity across Brisbane’s fringes over the past year.

The Knight Frank report found vacancy in the Brisbane fringe office market is forecast to fall from 14.5 per cent as of October 2018 to 13.8 per cent in January 2019, with the strongest improvement coming from the A-grade market.

Research also showed prime effective rents grew by 4.4 per cent in the year to October 2018, the highest rate of growth in six years, with Knight Frank forecasting further increases.

Brisbane's Booming Fringe Office Market

“There has been noticeably higher tenant activity across the fringe during 2018, with negotiated leases for spaces of 1000sq m or above dominated by tenants in the engineering and IT sectors,” Knight Frank partner Andrew Carlton said.

“While the CBD is set to remain a strong competitor for larger tenants, the fringe market has regained traction in the past six to nine months.”

As Queensland’s economy continues to strengthen, solid employment forecasts, upside for commodity and energy-related industries, and competitive deals on offer in quality fringe accommodation are boosting the state’s net absorption levels.

Brisbane’s broad infrastructure pipeline, which includes the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Project, Howard Smith Wharves, the new Brisbane Airport Redevelopment, the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, and Brisbane Quarter, is also playing a large part in the city’s improving employment base.

“With little imminent supply and the rebalancing of demand between the CBD and fringe, rental growth will be sustained, ranging between 3.7 per cent and 4.5 per cent year on year for the next three years,” Knight Frank partner Jennelle Wilson said.

The Knight Frank report found the city’s Inner South remains the precinct with the lowest vacancy rate at 8.6 per cent, while the Urban Renewal precinct has seen the greatest activity.

Milton has seen a great improvement, with the availability of modern, refurbished accommodation, particularly at Milton Green, spurring activity.

Milton Leads Brisbane's Booming Fringe Office Market Knight Frank

A spate of transaction activity has further strengthened the demand for opportunities in Brisbane’s fringe office market, with upwards of $500 million being exchanged.

Some high-profile sales have included Growthpoint’s acquisition of 100 Skyring Terrace in Newstead, as well as the sales of 825 Ann Street and 100 Brookes Street in Fortitude Valley.

“We’ve seen a trend of domestic funds outbidding offshore buyers for the limited opportunities in the fringe market,” Knight Frank partner Ben McGrath said.

“In 2017 offshore buyers accounted for 46 per cent of transactions, however for 2018 this may slip to 15 per cent.”

“While unlisted funds and wholesale groups have remained the dominant purchaser type, REITs have increased their exposure in the fringe this year with the higher yields attractive to listed entities.”

McGrath added that yields have continued to tighten across both prime and secondary assets as both the global weight of funds and improving demand attract investment.



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Sentinel sells Hemmant industrial facility in Brisbane to Centuria

Sentinel sells Hemmant industrial facility in Brisbane to Centuria

Sentinel Property Group has sold an industrial facility at Hemmant in Brisbane’s trade coast precinct for $17 million to Centuria Capital.

The partially leased property at 46-68 Gosport Street has been held in the Sentinel Industrial Trust No.5, which acquired the asset for $16 million in 2012.

The 4.8-hectare site features an 11,785 square metres warehouse and 1240 square metres of office space.

“Sentinel has been active over recent weeks as both a buyer and a seller and we are always striving to achieve fantastic results for our investors,” Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said.

“As well as transactions in Brisbane, Sentinel has been very active in regional Queensland, particularly in Mackay where our portfolio is approaching $100 million.”

The latest transaction follows Sentinel’s historic purchase of the Makerston House office building in the legal precinct of the Brisbane CBD for $103 million on a net passing yield of 7.85 per cent.

Makerston House, situated at 30 Makerston Street at the northern edge of the Brisbane CBD, last sold for $38 million in 2000 when Challenger bought it from listed investment company Ariadne.

The group also sold the Citilink Business Centre at Bowen Hills for $76 million, after a protracted sale process with buyer, superannuation fund Prime Super, which involved legal action.

In its overall asset recycling program, Mr Ebert says the group will keep focusing on Mackay as an important regional portfolio, especially since the town benefits from the opening up of the Galilee Basin and the approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal and rail project.

Blue Commercial’s Gary O’Shea was involved in the sale of the Hemmant asset.




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Hines to offload Brisbane office tower

Hines to offload Brisbane office tower

US property group Hines could make a windfall of about $40 million from the 15-storey office tower in Brisbane’s CBD it is now selling after buying the property three years ago for about $50 million.

The property at 348 Edwards Street, which is owned by Hines but managed on behalf of offshore capital from Asia, could sell for between $85 million to $90 million, according to market sources, after Hines acquired the building as a “value-add opportunity” in 2016 and subsequently lifted the occupancy rate from 36 per cent to 81 per cent.

The A-grade tower, which has a net lettable area of 11,123 sq m and sits on a prime 1384 sq m site opposite Brisbane’s Central Station, is likely to draw investors with its future development potential while offering secure income in the interim.

The building underwent renovations before Hines acquired it with $7 million spent on a new ground floor lobby and foyer, a new chiller and a refurbishment of amenities on each floor.

CBRE’s Flint Davidson, Adelaide O’Brien and Tom Phipps and JLL’s Luke Billiau and Seb Turnbull have been jointly appointed to market the property.

“Subject to the relevant planning approvals, the site could accommodate up to 50,000 square metres of gross floor area in a future cycle and provide for multiple uses, affording an incoming purchaser with ‘optionality’ that we expect will broaden the active capital,” Mr Billiau said.

Ms O’Brien said there was pent-up buyer demand and limited opportunities around the country to secure institutional-grade CBD office properties for under $100 million.

It’s been a busy year for Brisbane with owners of large-scale towers listing their properties for sale hoping to cash in on fresh interest from offshore and local buyers, who are confident in the city’s growth potential and are seeking a better yield proposition than what’s on offer in Sydney and Melbourne.

There were about $1.8 billion of office assets in Brisbane’s CBD either on the market or in due diligence as of last month.

Last year Hines sold two of its Brisbane assets, 100 Brookes Street and 825 Ann Street in Fortitude Valley, as part of the $645 million Hines REIT portfolio bought by Centuria Capital.

Hines still owns a 13,000 sq m office building at 260 Queen Street with its joint-venture partner Goldman Sachs, which it bought for about $95 million in 2018. It will soon be home to Brisbane’s first WeWork, after the co-working giant agreed to take up 4600 sq m of space.




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Sunshine Coast’s New CBD Welcomes First Commercial Tenants

Sunshine Coast’s New CBD Welcomes First Commercial Tenants

Demand for commercial space in the new Maroochydore CBD is building momentum with more than 40 per cent of a new sustainable office building already leased.

Construction work is expected to start this month on Evans Long’s eight-level Foundation Place building on South Sea Islander Way, with a number of tenants already secured including a law firm, investment company and town planner.

Evans Long has also revealed it will take space in the building which is set to have strong green credentials with a signed agreement to be the first private commercial building on the Sunshine Coast to achieve a 5 star energy rating under the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS).

Evans Long partner, Matt Evans, said the energy efficiency of the $30 million building appealed to prospective tenants.

“It will include the Sunshine Coast’s first green wall, solar panels, energy-efficient lighting and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials,” he said.

“It will also take advantage of Australia’s first underground automated waste collection system and harvest rainwater for grey water use in toilets and gardens.”

Sunshine Coast’s New CBD Welcomes First Commercial Tenants 1

Evans said modern businesses considered eco-friendly features “must haves” to attract and retain the right staff but also to reduce their footprint in the region.

SunCentral Maroochydore chief executive officer John Knaggs said the Evans Long building would be a landmark in the 53-hectare city centre.

“The new CBD has been designed as a modern, high tech, clean and green environment which our research shows is the type of environment that growing businesses want,” he said.

Evans said the commercial space would set a new benchmark for commercial space on the Sunshine Coast.

“We are targeting forward-thinking business operators looking for modern facilities, convenience and who want to be amongst the first tenants in the new CBD which will be one of the most digitally advanced city centres in the country,” he said.

“We have had strong interest from a range of potential tenants who want to be part of the new, vibrant CBD.”

Sunshine Coast’s New CBD Welcomes First Commercial Tenants 2

Foundation Place has 5006sq m of floor space, including ground floor retail, five levels of office space and two podium levels of car parking.

SunCentral Maroochydore commercial property consultant Jerry O’Reilly said the new city centre was meeting a growing demand for contemporary urban design and infrastructure as well as state-of-the art digital technology.

He said the new international subsea cable, which would be operational in 2020 and would land at the eastern edge of the new CBD on Maud Street, would provide business with Australia’s fastest data connection to Asia from the east coast.

“Businesses that are looking to expand their own operations are identifying the growth opportunities taking place on the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

O’Reilly said he was negotiating with a wide array of companies including the finance, legal, hospitality, medical, education, technology and residential sectors, many of which relied on efficient, reliable and fast connectivity.




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