Lend Lease fights fire with fire at Circular Quay

Artist’s impression of the public plaza that forms part of the Lend Lease planning proposal for 182 George Street in Sydney.

Lend Lease has tabled plans to dramatically lift the height of its premium office tower at Sydney’s Circular Quay as it contends with the bulked-up $1 billion Wanda One redevelopment hitting its original plans.

Lend Lease had already begun work on redeveloping its part of the precinct bounded by Alfred, Dalley, Pitt and George streets, planning a 220-metre office tower at 182 George St.

But it is now proposing a 248-metre skyscraper, which will be one of the city’s tallest, partly to preserve the views lost to Dalian Wanda’s mixed-use project.

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The Australian heavyweight and Chinese-based giant appear to be at loggerheads over their respective plans on the key harbourside block.

Wanda One gained first-stage approval last month, with a concept proposing two towers spanning 52 and 35 storeys with luxury apartments, ground-floor retail and an adjoining five-star hotel.

(Lend Lease) labelled the ­Chinese group’s plans “a poor ­design response” for the site

Lend Lease, which has long planned a top-class office tower on the block as it positions in Sydney for work after the Barangaroo South precinct is completed, had warned, along with other landlords, about the impact of Wanda’s scheme.

It labelled the ­Chinese group’s plans “a poor ­design response” for the site, and even suggested a modified design in a submission to council. Another major landholder on the block, Mirvac Group, is planning its own office tower and raised some objections.

Lend Lease last year searched, via real estate agent JLL, for a joint-­venture partner to develop the office building on its site. Cbus Property in June entered exclusive due diligence to buy the entire site for about $300 million. But negotiations soured when Wanda submitted its enlarged plans, which reduced the views of other projects.

The Lend Lease tower, which will encompass 182 George St and 33-35 Pitt St, will be matched with a major public plaza accessible from George Street, a low-rise public building to one edge, and a secondary plaza on Rugby Place.

The revised planning proposal includes commercial office space; start-up and entrepreneurship floor space for public use

In a nod to the technology tenants setting the pace in Sydney’s leasing market, Lend Lease’s latest move also aims “to encourage the inclusion of a business innovation space in the Lend Lease Circular Quay site”.

The company declined to comment on rival proposals but said it was “working collaboratively” with the City of Sydney to create a vibrant new precinct.

Lend Lease appears hopeful that its latest plan will satisfy surrounding landlords and eventually draw a precommitment from a tenant wanting to be part of the area’s rejuvenation.

“In response to feedback from the city, other stakeholders and the recent city approvals on the adjacent site, the revised planning proposal includes commercial office space; start-up and entrepreneurship floor space for public use; laneways with retail and dining options; a community building and facilities; and a new public plaza on George Street,” a Lend Lease spokeswoman says.

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