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Sunshine Coast Link Delivers Esports to the World

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast is poised to become Australia’s global esports hub thanks to its high-speed international fibre link.

The COVID-19 crisis played havoc with professional sport in 2020 but it proved a boon for another form of sporting contest: esports.

The Sunshine Coast is in a prime position to play a key part in that opportunity due to the city’s international broadband cable network.

The city’s cable landing station, in the Maroochydore City Centre, no doubt contributed to Walker Corporation’s recent agreement with the Sunshine Coast Council to commit $2.5 billion to the broader Maroochydore development project.

During the past decade the competitive esports industry has grown and become better organised, with professional contests offering big prize money for competitors globally.

Global esports revenue was expected to reach US$1.1 billion in 2020, a big opportunity for esports leagues, participants and game developers.

Broadband service provider OneQode is one of the Sunshine Coast cable-landing station’s newest tenants.

According to its CEO Matt Shearing, one of the key factors governing the growth of esports is players being able to compete on an even footing in regards to data.

“The quality of a competitive gamer’s broadband connection is critical. Not only do they need a high-speed connection, they also need low latency,” Shearing said.

Latency is the response time of a network. A gamer on a high-latency network is at a disadvantage to one with lower latency.

While latency is not usually a problem when people are competing within the same city or area, Shearing says it is a major issue when competing internationally, where a lag of just 100 milliseconds (ms) can be a significant handicap.

The Sunshine Coast solution

OneQode has found an innovative way to create a level playing field for international gaming.

The compnay is using the high-speed Sunshine Coast International Broadband Submarine Cable to connect its servers on the Sunshine Coast to its other servers on the Pacific island of Guam, about midway between Australia, Asia and North America.

“We have infrastructure in the Sunshine Coast cable landing station which allows us to hit up to 1.5 billion gamers in Asia Pacific with under 100ms of latency from Guam,” Shearing said.

“There is nowhere else in the world from which you can do that.

“It means Asian, North American and Australian players can essentially play at the same location.”

OneQode is testing the concept with a global esports tournament featuring teams from the Sunshine Coast, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Singapore and Tokyo. A tournament date is yet to be announced.

The concept has attracted the attention of 20-year-old global esports company ESL’s Asia Pacific Japan senior vice president and managing director Nick Vanzetti.

“Low latency offered by services such as the Sunshine Coast cable is exactly what the esports industry needs for our tournaments and global broadcasts,” Vanzetti said.

Shearing believes this project will also generate benefits for local games developers as they will be able to reach a larger population of players.

“There are a lot of great Aussie game developers out there. We just need to give them opportunities,” Shearing said.

“It would make a lot of sense for a games developer to base themselves on the Sunshine Coast, especially given the region is experiencing strong growth and the lifestyle and environment is so spectacular.”

Shearing said games developers can often provide the nucleus for a new industry cluster and create opportunities for other service providers such as illustrators, graphic designers and musicians.

Game on

The Australian games development industry is already experiencing solid growth—the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association released data in January this year that showed the industry had grown its revenue by 29 per cent since 2019.

According to the association, the games industry has the potential to become a digital-manufacturing powerhouse and be a major contributor to Australia’s economic revival.

The demand for gaming and esports is only likely to grow, with the association citing figures that suggest the industry was worth US$250 billion in 2020—nearly 10 times the global music industry.

For Shearing, those figures provide a strong endorsement for OneQode’s strategy of developing low-latency international network connections using the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network.

“Network demands are going to go up and up as time goes on,” Shearing said.

“People are going to need better and better connectivity, and that is what we are building for.”

Commercial and residential property projects are under way in the Maroochydore City Centre precinct, the site of the Sunshine Coast Submarine Broadband Network which operates from the landing station, including the Sunshine Coast Council new city hall project.

At a time when many property managers are trying to bring tenants back to office blocks, the first commercial building in Maroochydore is 100 per cent leased.

Now that the Sunshine Coast has created the fastest fibre-data link to Asia from Australia’s east coast, this kind of demand is coming from a variety of sectors, including rapidly growing and non-traditional industries such as esports.

The Sunshine Coast Council is actively encouraging business investment in the region.

Its Trade and Investment team provides a free concierge-style service for medium- to large-businesses looking for location or development opportunities.

Business support includes site selection assistance, assistance with navigating council planning requirements, introductions to local business networks and financial incentives for large-scale investments (individually assessed against criteria).

Last year, Sunshine Coast Council launched its “Give your business a boost of Vitamin SC— Sunshine Coast!” A campaign ebook outlines the region’s business benefits.

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Irongate Group Acquires Two Brisbane Industrial Properties


Irongate Group (ASX: IAP; JSE: IAP) has entered into agreements to acquire:

  • an industrial facility located at 57 – 83 Mudgee Street, Kingston QLD (Kingston Property); and
  • an industrial facility to be constructed at Lot 24, Dunhill Crescent, Morningside QLD (Morningside Property).

Both properties are being acquired on a fund through basis. The purchase price of the Kingston Property is $14,320,000 representing an initial yield of 5.73%, and the purchase price of the Morningside Property is $5,932,000 representing an initial yield of 6.02%.

Commenting on the acquisitions, IAP CEO, Graeme Katz, said, “the Kingston Property will comprise two brand new, high quality generic warehouse and distribution facilities with 2,270m² leased to Construction Sciences for 10 years with fixed annual escalations of 2.5% and 3,250m² leased to Wako Kwikform for 8 years with fixed annual escalations of 3.0%. The Morningside Property comprises 1,016m² of space that will be leased to 3M Australia to be used as its Queensland head office and last mile distribution facility. The lease term is 10 years with fixed annual escalations of 3.0%.

“Both acquisitions are consistent with IAP’s strategy of acquiring good quality industrial properties with strong tenant covenants and long lease terms. IAP believes the Brisbane industrial market currently represents relative value, and the acquisitions complement IAP’s recent Brisbane industrial acquisitions in Brendale (completed in January 2021) and Pinkenba (completed in March 2021). The acquisitions will increase IAP’s exposure to industrial property to 34% by both income and value.”

Both acquisitions are due to complete in mid-May 2021.


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Logos and Partners Launch $1bn Asset Hunt


Logos Group has partnered with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company to launch a $1-billion fund to target Australian industrial assets.

The Logos-KKR-Mubadala joint venture aims to acquire and develop logistics facilities predominately across the key eastern seaboard markets, chiefly in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

This marks Middle Eastern pension fund Mubadala’s entry into the Australian industrial market.

The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund currently controls a $232-billion portfolio across six continents.

KKR and Mubadala will be the major investors in the fund with Logos to take a smaller interest.

CBRE Capital Advisors acted as financial advisor to Logos for the venture’s capital raising.

The capital raise was led by the head of capital markets for Asia Pacific, Greg Hyland, and the head of international capital—Pacific and South East Asia, Stuart McCann.

The venture’s seed property will be a 18.2ha development site at 3746 Ipswich Road, Wacol in south-western Brisbane, which was bought from New Zealand-based Fletcher Building.

Logos has begun plans to re-develop the site as a master-planned $200-million logistics estate on both a pre-lease and speculative basis with up to 95,000sq m of industrial space.

The property, which has access to Brisbane’s key arterial road network near the interchange of the Ipswich and Logan motorways, was occupied by Rocla Concrete Pipes, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building.

“We are pleased to have established a new venture with experienced global investors, KKR and Mubadala,” Logos Australia managing director Darren Searle said.

“[It will enable Logos] to continue to meet the ever-growing demand from global, multi-national and domestic customers for high-quality logistics facilities within Australia.

“We see the Wacol property as a strategic seed asset for this venture and are pleased to have facilitated this transaction from Fletcher Building, with whom we have a long-standing relationship.”

Logos is now backed by ARA Asset Management after the Singaporean investment house took a majority stake a year ago, buying out Macquarie’s position.

Logos is also backed by Ivanhoe Cambridge, a Canadian real estate industry player.

Logos founders John Marsh and Trent Iliffe also have a stake in the growing platform.


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Brisbane Office Vacancies Heading for 15pc Peak


Brisbane CBD office vacancies are expected to peak at more than 15 per cent this year

They will improve in 2023 but the level of sub-lease space being marketed remains a wildcard, according to the Knight Frank Brisbane CBD Office Market report, released this week.

Under the pressure of new supply and further negative net absorption, the report found, vacancies in the city’s office market will reach a 15.7 per cent peak in June.

Knight Frank Queensland partner and report author Jennelle Wilson said office vacancies were expected to remain elevated during next year.

“We will then begin to see material decreases during 2023,” Wilson said.

“In the medium term, vacancy is expected to remain above 12 per cent through to 2024-2025, which will continue to limit supply additions without substantial pre-commitment.”

The Knight Frank research found that leasing activity during the pandemic has been dominated by smaller tenants, with 85 per cent of leasing activity, excluding renewals, last year and into 2021 largely for tenants requiring less than 1000sq m.

Knight Frank head of office leasing Queensland Mark McCann said tenant activity was on the horizon with tenant engagement from larger users expected to increase from the middle of this year.

Tenants active in the CBD market and expected to make their next location decision announcements soon include CUA (6000sq m), KPMG (8000sq m), McCullough Robertson (4000sq m), APA Group (4000sq m) and the Federal Government (about 38,000sq m), according to the report.

McCann said the great unknown in future vacancy remained the level of sub-lease space being marketed.

“The actions of tenants during the next 12 months in this space—to either reoccupy or relinquish—has the potential to move the needle for the total vacancy rate,” he said.

The Knight Frank report found investment market activity is rebuilding after a slow 2020.

Last year turnover totalled $607.6 million, representing the lowest total transaction level since 2008 and 2009, following the GFC.

This year so far $210 million in deals have settled and $530 million is under contract, which the report notes, points to a strong year ahead.

Assets under contract include “the Gold Tower” at 10 Eagle Street, snapped up by local private syndicator Marquette Properties.

Wilson said offshore activity in the investment market during last year was limited to the settlement of the one major sale—66 Eagle Street.

This transaction comprised 63 per cent of the total transaction activity, with the remaining sales to domestic players.

“Despite few transactions and limited offshore active buyers, yields have remained firm for core assets, with the yield band widening to reflect assets with short-term vacancy exposure,” Wilson said.


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