Brisbane developers battle for big bank signatures

An artist’s impression of Charter Hall’s proposed new office tower at 370 Queen St in Brisbane.

Brisbane’s office market has turned into a battle for the banks.

Heavyweight groups are poised to find out whether they have secured Suncorp or Westpac as tenants within weeks.

Precommitment of Queensland’s Suncorp is the real prize as it is shaping up as the city’s biggest leasing deal in a decade.

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The race is now down to two developers after superannuation-fund backed manager ISPT, which had proposed a tower at the former cinema site The Regent in the Queen Street Mall, was cut from the bank’s short-list.

Now, Charter Hall and Investa Commercial Property Fund are vying against Mirvac to house Suncorp, which is currently a tenant of Charter Hall’s Brisbane Square building.

Suncorp staff are spread over 38,000sqm at three sites across Brisbane’s CBD. The leases expire in the next four years, prompting the search for a single building.

Suncorp has declined to comment on the short-listed sites but indicated a decision is expected by mid-year.

Last year, Charter Hall joined Investa to purchase three sites in Queen St for $53 million with a view to building a 40-storey office tower. The pair last month lodged a development application for a $650 million office tower, at 370 Queen St, they hope Suncorp will occupy.

Mirvac, which last month released its proposal for a “city within a building” on Ann St, is still vying for the project. It is proposing a 32-storey building spanning a city block between Ann and Turbot streets.

The complex would incorporate three-storey atriums and interconnecting floors. Real estate agent JLL is seeking capital partners for Mirvac’s planned $800 million complex.

Westpac’s search for 7000sqm of space is also coming to a head. A shortlist of four sites — GPT’s Riverside Centre on Eagle St; Charter Hall’s 175 Eagle St; The Dexus tower at 480 Queen St and the Shayher Group’s 300 George St — has been whittled down to two major contenders.

Industry sources flagged that the GPT and Charter Hall developments had emerged as the most likely home for Westpac.

In January, Cornerstone Property secured Allianz Global Assistance as an 8000sqm tenant in its redeveloped A-grade tower at 310 Ann St.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.