Walker leads race to house 4000 Parramatta public servants

An artist’s impression of towers at Walker Corporation’s Parramatta Square in Sydney’s west.

Tycoon Lang Walker has emerged as favourite to house more than 4000 state public servants in new towers in Sydney’s west, with his proposal edging out rival projects in Parramatta.

Winning the huge government requirement would allow the private Walker Corporation to speed works on the latest stages of its Parramatta precinct as it will soon lock in the government on an initial 10-year lease term with a further two five-year options.

While the private operation did not comment, the win would also cement Walker’s holdings in the area, prompting comparisons with his $2.5 billion Collins Square precinct in Melbourne.

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Walker is seen as best positioned, with the last elements of his $3.2 billion Parramatta Square precinct winning approval in January.

The Sydney Central City Planning Panel approved two 50-storey combined buildings, known as towers 6 and 8, which could house 12,500 workers.

Walker’s other buildings there, towers 3 and 4, are under way and will accommodate National Australia Bank and NSW government departments.

The Berejiklian government last September unveiled plans to lease up to 45,000sqm of A-grade office space in the western Sydney hub in 2022, sparking a fierce competition between developers. The process, run by Property NSW, drew a hefty field but the race came down to Walker, listed office player Dexus and the Australian Unity operation.

The Walker proposal won favour on the basis of its deliverability and cost grounds.

Rival groups Mirvac, Charter Hall and GPT, which have projects in the area, will be watching the progress of the Walker precinct as its vacancy levels and rents will set levels across that market.

Dexus said last month it had been short-listed for the requirement and it is now likely to seek private sector tenants for its planned 33-storey tower. That project, at 140 George St, will be an A-grade office building spanning 45,700sqm.

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