Axis buys Brisbane building as $1bn skyscraper scrapped

Brisbane is facing a wave of apartment completions.
Brisbane is facing a wave of apartment completions.

Brisbane-based Axis Capital will buy a Queen St office building that was once slated for one of the city’s largest residential apartment projects.

The low-profile company bought 545 Queen St from the GPT Group’s unlisted office fund for a price in the low $70 million range.

The Queen St building has been anchored by Flight Centre but that group shifted to Anthony John’s triple-tower Southpoint complex and the tower is now seen as a prime repositioning play. The complex sits on an island site in the northeastern fringe of Brisbane’s financial precinct and space in the 13,100sqm A-grade office tower will likely be chased as the city’s leasing market recovers.

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Axis Capital focuses on managing and developing commercial assets for a small group of private investors and also owns a building in nearby Edward St.

Ben Azar of Savills brokered the off-market transaction.

The Australian reported last September that the Chinese-led consortium that had control of the site was planning to build a $1 billion skyscraper of almost 1000 rooms in Brisbane’s central business district and was seeking joint venture partners.

Development manager PDS Australia called for interest from builders and developers to partner with site owners Double Gold Stone to construct the planned residential and serviced apartment project.

The proposed Brisbane development was for a 76-storey, 891-unit, 100-ser­viced apartment tower designed by Woods Bagot and featuring a curved glass ­facade, as well as associated retail space.

The consortium of DGS, and other Chinese and Australian entities, secured 2735sqm triangular site at 545 Queen St from the GPT-managed fund in 2015 for $82 million but as this deal was not settled the vendor retained the deposit.

Brisbane is facing a wave of apartment completions and regulators have expressed concerns about lending to unit investors. Brisbane City Council last September signed off on the landmark residential and mixed-use development, Queen’s Tower but the purchaser appears likely to pursue a more traditional strategy of repositioning and leasing the office block.