Billionaire teams up for Pitt Street purchase

The 135 King Street, Sydney office tower and retail complex.
The 135 King Street, Sydney office tower and retail complex.

Billionaire Brett Blundy and businessman Victor Comino are going against the trend and making a big play for a $700 million-plus retail and office property in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall.

The pair are believed to have united to make a play for a half-stake in the 135 King Street office tower and Glasshouse shopping complex in the Sydney CBD, which Stockland is offloading.

Buying would give them exposure to Sydney’s soaring office rents and a rare spot on the retail strip, which is seeing an influx of luxury spenders, including tourists from China capitalising on the low Australian dollar.

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It is unclear why Blundy is chasing the building, which will house footwear brand Platypus alongside Swedish homewares giant H&M.

Blundy last year upped his stake in the Accent Group, which counts Platypus, one of the top sellers of sneakers and casual footwear, in its stable. However, their play may be thwarted as property group Investa mulls a move that could give it full control of the complex as it holds rights as the existing co-owner alongside Stockland.

The listed property company sparked the original contest for the property after putting its stake on the block and winning interest from Mr Comino.

The Investa Commercial Property Fund has rights to match the price Comino is offering (thought to be well above the latest $326 million value for the half stake) and secure full control of the tower and retail complex.

Co-ownership stakes have proven critical in Sydney property battles this year. Mirvac took control of 10-20 Bond Street with the aid of backer Morgan Stanley and Dexus and its wholesale fund exercised rights to buy GPT out of the $1.6 billion MLC Centre.

The contest may be swayed by Comino’s ownership of the adjoining building on Pitt Street Mall, which until recently had housed a Soul Pattinson pharmacy for almost 150 years.

The Investa fund is now seriously considering the approaches it has fielded from its own roster of capital partners keen to get access to the famed Pitt Street strip.

It is also understood to have received approaches from other international groups.

Even if a new group was bought in, Comino would still hold the building at 160 Pitt Street he bought last year on a crisp yield of less than 4%.

He has reportedly struck a deal with Sephora cosmetics, which is shifting from Westfield Sydney to occupy space formerly occupied by the chemist.

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