Sydney’s first skyscraper to finally receive facelift

Sydney’s first skyscraper at 33 Alfred St.
Sydney’s first skyscraper at 33 Alfred St.

AMP Capital is in the final stages of undertaking two of Sydney’s largest real estate transactions, with its historic Alfred Street skyscraper to be revamped and its search for a capital partner for its Quay Quarter Tower coming to a head.

The two deals will help reshape the landscape at Circular Quay with AMP Capital pouring billions of dollars into overhauling the precinct where Lendlease, Wanda, Poly Group and Mirvac are also developing towers.

After more than two years of negotiations with Sydney City Council, AMP Capital has finally received approval to refurbish Sydney’s first skyscraper.

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That building, fronting 33 Alfred St, is jointly owned by investors in the AMP Capital Diversified Property Fund and the AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund and is occupied by the AMP group.

The group would not divulge how much the redevelopment would cost but said last night that the tower would be vacated while it underwent a “refresh” of its facade as well as the modernisation of its services and interior, leaving it well placed for a city rent surge.

AMP Capital will also maintain the building’s heritage characteristics and reinstate some of the “lost” building features of the 1962 tower. The Alfred St tower is an iconic part of Sydney’s harbour skyline and AMP Capital is targeting top environmental ratings for the refurbished building that will be returned to premium grade.

Circular Quay Sydney

A number of major deals are in the offing at Circular Quay.

AMP Capital Real Estate chief operating officer Louise Mason says that after 55 years it is time to upgrade. “This work will make 33 Alfred St one of Sydney’s most highly sought-after, premium-grade office buildings,” she says. “However, it will still be recognisable as one of the most loved and distinctive buildings at Circular Quay, the gateway to Sydney.”

Work is due to start in 2021 with AMP then due to move into Quay Quarter Tower.

AMP Capital is selling a one-third stake in the office component of that near $3 billion project. It is working with Macquarie Capital and property advisers JLL on introducing a backer beside the two AMP funds that are already invested.

Industry superannuation fund REST Industry Super is widely tipped to be in a preferred position on the tower.

While the parties have declined to comment, the stake could sell for about $900m as the proposed 49-floor tower will deliver 90,000sq m of the country’s top space. A construction deal is being ironed out, with Multiplex and Lendlease in contention.

– with Ben Wilmot

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