Walker wins major Parramatta office tower contract

The Parramatta Square towers will be a feature of the CBD skyline.

Tycoon Lang Walker has brushed aside rival developers to win a tender to house about 4200 NSW public servants in a Parramatta office tower being pitched as the country’s largest.

The private Walker Corporation was up against at least two listed developers after the Berejiklian government last September unveiled plans to shift more bureaucrats to the western Sydney hub in 2022.

In the final elements of the process, run by Property NSW, Walker edged out listed office player Dexus and a bid from the Australian Unity operation with the government committing to lease up to 43,800sqm of A-grade office space in 2021.

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The win was flagged by The Australian and puts Walker on track to hold significant sway over the area’s office market as tenants will be sought out for the remaining vacancy in the new development.

“Parramatta Square is taking shape quickly and the total project is now 75% pre-leased with over 170,000sq m of high-quality office space committed,” Walker says.

“We expect to experience a strong flow of pre-leases off the back of the two anchor tenants signing long-term leases in the project, which is one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country and will see Parramatta city rival Sydney’s CBD in terms of amenity and high quality commercial space,” he adds.

Building of Walker’s four-tower $3.2 billion Parramatta Square precinct is well underway, with the first tower, known as Tower 4, expected to be completed in November and the whole precinct due for completion in 2022.

The NSW government struck a 12-year lease, with two further five-year options, for the space in Walker’s 6 Parramatta Square, which was granted development approval last year with 8 Parramatta Square.

Walker has also snared financial services group Link Market Services, which will shift from its Sydney corporate offices from Rhodes to Parramatta Square in 2021. Link is already a key tenant in Walker Corporation’s Collins Square precinct in Melbourne.

The two latest Parramatta towers combined will provide up to 125,000sq m of space, with an end value of $1.7bn and the company said both private and public sector groups were chasing space, with Towers 3 and 4 fully pre-committed, and tenants, including the National Australia Bank and other NSW departments, are already secured.

Walker’s overall 3ha city-style precinct will transform the heart of Parramatta CBD with commercial and mixed-use elements, including a food and beverage quarter. The area will have a University of Western Sydney campus, community facilities, a civic building, community centre and library.

Rival groups Mirvac, Charter Hall and GPT, have projects underway while retail giant Scentre is working on a scheme for a tower above its Parramatta centre.

Walker says the area has the lowest vacancy rate of any office market in Australia and was benefiting from infrastructure projects, including light rail, a future rapid transit metro, the new Parramatta stadium and Powerhouse Museum.

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