Lower north shore set for new $1.6b office deal

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Lower north shore set for new $1.6b office deal

By Carolyn Cummins

Property developer JQZ is on track with its planned $1.6 billon mixed-use project on Sydney’s lower north shore at a time in the real estate cycle when fringe market locations are in high demand from cashed-up investors.

Sitting on the corner of 558 Pacific Highway and Christie Street, the 88 By JQZ project will comprise a 16,638 square metre office tower, 637 apartments, a new retail and dining project, supermarket, civic plaza and public library.

CBRE and Colliers International will steer the leasing and said the project was due to be finished in 2023.

Renders of property developer JQZ’s planned office tower at 558 Pacific Highway, St Leonards.

Renders of property developer JQZ’s planned office tower at 558 Pacific Highway, St Leonards.

CBRE’s North Sydney managing director Rachel Vincent said the project would fill a major gap in the St Leonards office and retail market and appeal to a broad range of occupiers seeking new corporate headquarters.

JQZ founder and managing director Jianqiu Zhang said the A-grade office tower was central to the group’s plans to develop a new “live, work and play” precinct on Sydney’s north shore while tapping into growing demand for high-quality, suburban workspace.

“We identified a clear gap in the St Leonards market, which is dominated by ageing office stock and where a growing number of buildings have been converted to residential use, leaving limited quality options for office occupiers,” Mr Zhang said.

Designed by PTW Architects, the tower will incorporate a sculptural glass facade, marble lobby and offer views to the city and over the new civic plaza and St Leonards town centre.

Colliers national director Dan Walker said the flexible floor plates would accommodate multinational, multi-level corporate headquarters and boutique creative spaces, allowing for collaborative workplace environments.

It is said the net office rentals will average $850 per sq m to $900 per sq m.

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In the latest Colliers metro office report for the first half of 2021, suburban occupiers are being motivated by a new wave of supply and a flight to quality to relocate within their own backyards in the quest for upgraded office space and amenities.

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Simon Hunt, Colliers’ managing director of office leasing, said activity was starting to gain momentum and there was confidence that activity would gather pace through 2021, with positive signs in the recovery of labour markets across Sydney.

“Colliers office leasing signed 20 deals totalling 6,655 sq m across Sydney’s Metro markets over the first three months of 2021. This is a decrease from the same period last year, but a healthy sign that occupiers are starting to action leasing decisions after 12 months of reluctance.”

Demand is also gaining traction in North Sydney, spurred on by new developments including the Lendlease Victoria Cross integrated station development, incorporating metro station, new 42-storey commercial building and public domain.

At a recent Property Council of Australia event focusing on North Sydney, Graeme Collins, development director at Lendlease, said the connectivity brought by Sydney Metro would transform North Sydney into a natural extension of the Sydney CBD and that Victoria Cross would be at the heart of this revitalisation.

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