Hong Kong jeweller sees sparkle in $315m Melbourne tower

595 Collins St in Melbourne. Picture: Andy Brownbill.

Melbourne’s central business district office towers are drawing capital from around the world with interests associated with Hong Kong’s Foo Hang Jewellery close to buying a major Collins St tower for about $315 million.

Founded in 1944, Foo Hang Jewellery was one of the first companies to import diamonds directly to Hong Kong from Israel and South Africa, and has become a premier jewellery wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer and exporter.

Tycoons from the city last year dominated the buying of Sydney office towers with toy king Francis Choi setting the pace and listed group K Wah joining in, along with Macau-based interests.

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At the larger end, Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and property developer Far East Consortium are part of the group building a $3 billion Brisbane casino resort.

Now, interests associated with the Hong Kong group have emerged as the prospective buyer for Melbourne’s 595 Collins St tower from South Korea’s National Pension Service, represented by US firm PGIM Real Estate.

The South Korean fund bought the Melbourne complex in 2011, taking a 90 per cent stake in 595 Collins Street from Investa and a fund it ran, in a deal valuing the whole asset at about $130 million.

Investa originally kept an interest of about 10% and stayed as property manager. But about three years ago PGIM took full control.

The 17-storey building, completed in 1984, has 31,778sqm made up of two interconnected office towers, three ground-floor shops and 145 basement car spaces. In 2007, the building had a major refurbishment.

Agents Leigh Melbourne, Nick Rathgeber and Paul Kempton of JLL and Neva Courts of CBRE did not comment on the deal’s crisp yield of close to 5 per cent.

The South Korean group is also selling its half-stake in the North Sydney building known as Coca-Cola Place.

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