Hong Kong firm’s double dive into Sydney office market

The property at 72 Christie St in Sydney.

The listed CC Land Holdings, the Hong Kong-based firm controlled by Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung-kiu, has quietly emerged as one of the canniest investors in Australia’s most recent office property cycle.

The group, best known for its £1.135 billion purchase of London’s tallest skyscraper, known as the Cheesegrater, in 2017, has backed two major Australian property plays.

In its first move, CC Land took a 34.55% share of an office building on Sydney’s north shore for $HK122 million and then benefited as it won a new tenant and was onsold.

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In that deal, it backed Proprium Capital Partners Australia’s purchase of 72 Christie St, St Leonards, for $76 million in 2017.

Proprium leased up the building to Mastercard for 10 years and then sold it to Singapore’s UOL Group for $154.52 million late last year.

The attraction of a fully leased tower near St Leonards train station saw CC Land exit profitably from its stake in the now refurbished building.

In its results this week, CC Land said that just before the year end, the venture in which it held a 34.55 per cent stake sold the building for a pre-tax profit of about $45m.

CC Land said it would reap about $15.5 million and it had quickly reinvested the proceeds in an office building in Melbourne’s CBD.

The project that it referred to is another play by Proprium. It picked up the site at Melbourne’s 85 Spring St, where Golden Age and partner Starwood Capital had previously planned a $600m apartment and hotel complex.

The $112m acquisition is due to be completed in the first half of this year and CC Land has an interest of about 41.9%.

Proprium, with CC Land’s backing, is likely to pursue a repositioning of the existing 1980s tower at 85 Spring St, looking to pick up tenants displaced as new projects are undertaken across the city.

The deal was brokered by agent CBRE which, along with the parties, has not commented.

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