Woolloomooloo Ford building tops $100m in major sale

The former City Ford Building in Woolloomooloo.
The former City Ford Building in Woolloomooloo.

Boutique property manager Centennial Property has swooped on the former City Ford site in the inner Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo in a $104 million deal that gives it control of a prime mixed-use building.

Buying the city fringe site, for which Centennial has quietly raised funds from wealthy investors, adds to the firm’s Sydney holdings and is in keeping with its value-adding strategy.

Centennial, formed in 2012 by Jonathan Wolf and Lyle Hammerschlag, manages about $500m of assets and has transacted more than $1 billion. The funds company has been active and picked up a nearby Surry Hills office building from not-for-profit company RT Health Fund for $33.53m on behalf of a Chinese investor last year.

The latest asset it purchased was the art deco-influenced building built at 75 Crown Street for Hastings Deering in 1938. It later became a six-storey showroom and headquarters for City Ford.

The now 8445sqm, eight-storey building was extensively refurbished in 2012 and 2016 and sits on a large 2094sq m island site that sports expansive views from upper floors over the Sydney CBD, the Domain and Sydney Harbour.

It is anchored by long-term leases to Woolworths and the East Sydney Private Hospital, with more income from 22 high-end New York style loft apartments and parking spaces.

The deal occurred in an off-market negotiation handled by JT Allen Real Estate.

Centennial could reposition and remix the building and drive positive rents reversion over the medium term on expiry of leases. It may undertake a strata subdivision of the units.

Centennial outlaid $104m and raised $63.3 million for the fund. The purchase showed a capital value of about $12,000 per square metre and an initial yield of 4.78%.

“There is medium term value add upside from repositioning and remixing of commercial tenancies,” Centennial says.

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