Milligan Group aims high with Sydney CBD skyscraper

The Milligan Group has approval to build hybrid timber skyscraper in central Sydney.

The private Milligan Group has won initial approval for plans to develop a near $2bn skyscraper in the heart of the Sydney CBD in one of the largest city property plays in the wake of the pandemic.

The scheme for a landmark office complex comes amid a flurry of activity from rivals including Mirvac, Lendlease and Charter Hall which have nearby towers either in planning or being built.

The planned skyscraper on the corner of Hunter St and Pitt St would rise about 52 storeys and sit in the city’s core precinct.

The 214m tower has been billed as the world’s tallest hybrid timber building and a report by architect Bates Smart has shown it would have office space of about 43,300sq m and retail space of 5465sq m, topped by a rooftop restaurant and bar.

The site was assembled after years of quiet deal-making by the private group, building up positions which give it control of five key properties which form a “super site” for the tower.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Brad Hamilton advised owners in the strata building at 23 Hunter St as part of the putting together of the site which helped spark the consolidation.

The move by Milligan also displays the tall, slim style of the city’s next wave of skyscrapers – which are designed to capitalise on the new Sydney Metro network, with the complex to abut a new station.

The Milligan Group’s 214m tower will have a rooftop restaurant and bar.

The dramatic tower is pitched as a boutique A-grade development which will be served by the new Hunter Street Metro Station, which adjoins the Milligan site’s western boundary, with two over-station towers also being planned.

Milligan has a strong record in development and in partnership with Stamford Capital Australia and Quintet Partners developed the Workshop office building in Sydney’s inner-city Pyrmont. It was pre-sold to Suntec REIT for about $297m in 2019.

Milligan is also developing a new hybrid building at 32-36 York St, transforming the 1886 heritage complex into a boutique A-grade commercial space.

Property deal-making has been relatively quiet in Sydney this year but developers have still worked up schemes, looking past the pandemic’s immediate impact and trying to advance buildings that will satisfy the desire of companies and governments to get staff back into offices.

The proposal for 15-25 Hunter St and 105-107 Pitt St, was to be considered by a City of Sydney council committee, following a request to amend the planning controls for the site.

The plan was backed by city planners.

“This new space will help to attract new investment, innovative business, highly skilled workers, and strengthen economic resilience after the Covid-19 pandemic within central Sydney where there is significant investment in quality public transport infrastructure,” council documents said.

The site is in Sydney’s core precinct which is favoured by financial, legal, property and technology sectors.

All up there are five buildings on the site including 15-17 Hunter St, the four storey building formerly known as Pangas House. The site also includes the five-storey 19-21 Hunter St, the 15-storey 23 Hunter St, and 105 Pitt St, an eight-storey office block, and 107 Pitt St.