Channel 9 site owner considering quick flip

An artist’s impression of the plan for the Nine site at Willoughby.

The Asian owners of Nine Network’s Willoughby head office in Sydney are considering a play to flip the site — best known as the home of television — that they famously bought from the television station during the property boom.

The move to trade the Sydney site comes just weeks after they won approval for a major apartment project and could see the owners reap $200 million. Even with the unit downturn biting, the site is likely to sell for significantly more than the $147 million Nine Entertainment sold it for in 2015.

The two owners, Hong Kong-based Euro Properties and local restaurateur-cum-fund manager Michael Jiang’s Lotus Capital Asset Management, has called for advice to sell the property that won rezoning for one of Sydney’s most prominent North Shore developments.

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The move is designed to capitalise on interest in the site as Nine is slated to move to a new tower owned by the Winten Property Group in North Sydney by 2020, and the area’s wealthy market of downsizers remains relatively unscathed by the sweeping property downturn.

The site is considered one of Sydney’s most desirable as it carries approval for 460 homes and, despite residents’ protests about the project’s height, is likely to draw local and offshore buyers.

Property values have surged on the lower north shore, including for mixed-use projects that are keeping their value even as the broader residential market slows.

Lotus and Euro Properties have pitched the overall project, that includes office and retail space and parklands, as having an end value topping $1 billion.

The site had previously drawn interest from local residential players, including Mirvac and Lendlease, and there is a raft of Chinese companies looking for new properties to build fresh projects.

The owners, via their LEPC9 Pty Ltd structure, said this month they had received approval from NSW’s Independent Planning Commission to develop the mixed-used development on Artarmon Road.

Designed by architects CHROFI, the approval includes 460 units across nine buildings, a series of public piazzas and open green space.

The partnership had submitted a modification to the original masterplan commissioned by Nine in 2010.

The companies declined to comment about a potential sale of the site but said earlier this month they wanted to deliver a vibrant new precinct under their project, dubbed Parkside Willoughby.

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