Walker moves on Parramatta twin towers

Artist’s impression of Walker Corporation’s DA for towers 4 and 6 at Parramatta Square.

Property tycoon Lang Walker has lodged the development application for two top-grade office towers at the $2 billion Parramatta Square project in Sydney’s west as he also seeks a $1 billion refinancing of Melbourne’s Collins Square precinct.

The billionaire is fighting for the right to host the NSW government, which wants to shift a number of departments to western Sydney, but his towers are up against rival developments by listed players Charter Hall and Dexus Property Group, which are also vying for the requirement.

Walker put the plans in last week with Parramatta Council for towers 4 and 6 at Parramatta Square.

They comprise two A-grade ­office buildings with a combined net lettable area of 110,000sq m, as well as 7000sq m of retail space.

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“Demand for premium office space in Parramatta is undeniable with current vacancy rates at a record low of 1%,” Walker Corporation chairman Walker says.

“This has been reaffirmed by the strong tenant interest received from major corporations whose leases expire in 2019 to 2020.’’

Parramatta Square will become an iconic Sydney destination

While Walker Corporation’s project missed out on a major Commonwealth Bank requirement, as the bank shifted to the ATP at Redfern, it is pitching its towers as having a range of flexible floor plates of up to 2300sq m.

The retail element will incorporate a range of cafes and hospitality offerings that will front a public domain and planned square that will be larger than Martin Place.

“Parramatta Square will become an iconic Sydney destination and as such has to be at the forefront of design and sustainability, while providing a superior service offering,” Walker says.

“Ideally located for blue-chip companies in search of industry-leading commercial space, the towers are an integral part of the wider development and will ­significantly contribute to its ­success.”

His project was conceived by JPW Architects, and the towers are designed to feature the latest in workplace design, high security and environmental excellence.

Walker plans to kick off basement excavation and construction of the buildings in early 2017.

A staged approach will be taken to construction, with the towers, to be built to a minimum five green star rating, slated for release in 2019 and 2020.

Demand for premium office space in Parramatta is undeniable with current vacancy rates at a record low of 1%

The wider precinct will feature The Aspire Tower, comprising 700 apartments and a hotel, which Walker Corp last week denied had been flipped to Chinese player Country Garden. The company has insisted it has sufficient equity commitments to develop the office and unit towers in Parramatta and the five-year term loan of about $1 billion it is seeking on Melbourne’s Collins Square is being dealt with separately.

Walker decided to keep the precinct in April after a keenly bid process run by investment bank UBS. Walker managing director David Ryan is understood to be on the debt roadshow, accompanied by the major Australian banks arranging the loans.

“They will get very good pricing given the quality of the asset and the leasing momentum they have had this year at Collins Square,” one property debt expert says.

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