29/10/2018 - 16:10

Brookfield builds for the future

29/10/2018 - 16:10

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SPECIAL REPORT: Commercial property player and Perth’s biggest landlord, Brookfield, is building on its success across the city with big plans and a strategic focus.

Brookfield is focusing on land between Elizabeth Quay and Bishop’s See. Photo: Google Earth

SPECIAL REPORT: Commercial property player and Perth’s biggest landlord, Brookfield, is building on its success across the city with big plans and a strategic focus.

IN late 2015, Brookfield Australia had just completed the second tower at its Brookfield Place development in Perth and was hosting Brookfield Property Partners executive chairman Ric Clark, who was visiting from his New York base.

Keen to show off the new precinct and pleased that tower two was 70 per cent leased on completion in a tough market, the locals were hoping for positive feedback from the big boss.

Brookfield Australia head of development Carl Schibrowski said the company’s most senior executive was impressed with Brookfield Place, but saw it as a first step in creating a precinct to rival those the company had developed and owns in Toronto, Canary Wharf and Manhattan.

(CLICK TO READ A PDF VERSION OF THIS THREE-ARTICLE SPECIAL REPORT)

Apparently Mr Clark was reserved in his praise for the project, suggesting he thought it was “a pretty good start”.

“We were a little bit taken aback but he was challenging us to build off that, build on the gravitational pull we had created for the placemaking, the retail presence and the arts program in the precinct,” Mr Schibrowski told Business News.

Ranked Perth’s biggest landlord on the BNiQ Search Engine list of Commercial Owners, with ownership of 108 St Georges Terrace, Brookfield Place, the EY building on Mounts Bay Road and 50 per cent of Bishop’s See, Brookfield has plenty of plans to build its portfolio for the future.

Brookfield is committed to Perth and WA for the long term as an investor in a gateway city for financial services and resources companies,” Mr Schibrowski said.

“Perth is now a recognised centre of excellence around mining and resources and has a great tertiary sector that is following along behind that.

“The business is optimistic, without being irrationally exuberant, that there are enough consistently good news stories about continued maintenance and expansion of resources projects.”

Brookfield has its footprint on three sites at Elizabeth Quay, as well as air rights above the busport in front of the Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre and next to the Adina apartments building.

At Elizabeth Quay, Brookfield will develop a 53-level mixed-use building, featuring 230 apartments, a 220 key five-star hotel, 15,000 square metres of office accommodation, and some retail.

A smaller, 19-storey office building will offer 30,000sqm of office space and a smaller retail component.

On the adjoining site, lot seven, Brookfield will develop Chevron’s new headquarters in a 30-level building incorporating 52,785sqm of office space.

Chevron lodged a development application for lot seven last month and it is expected that Brookfield will lodge its own development application for lots five and six by the end of the year.

Using Elizabeth Quay and 108 St Georges Terrace to the east and Bishop’s See to the west, Brookfield considers Brookfield Place will eventually form the centrepiece of a much bigger precinct in the future.

“Where we are focused and where we have been successful in the current market is we see the PCEC and EQ precincts being an extension to Brookfield Place – connecting those areas up will be a key to our success,” Mr Schibrowski said.

“We discovered we had air rights above the busport and some more air rights further towards the Adina apartments, so we started master planning that.”

Further air rights adjoining the Adina apartments could incorporate development of more serviced apartments or even affordable housing as a requirement of Brookfield’s investment in Elizabeth Quay.

Esplanade Plaza is a proposed nine-level, 18,500sqm office building to be constructed above the busport.

“We have worked collaboratively with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and Public Transport Authority to prepare the development application, which we see as a positive step towards revitalising the PCEC precinct,” Mr Schibrowski said.

“We have a lot of interest from potential tenants because it adds to the diversity of the product we can offer within the Brookfield Place precinct because they are very large floor plates of around 2,450sqm.

“An astute tenant is going to take that and realise they can be within the community we have formed down there.”

As part of the development, Brookfield will upgrade the busport and existing retail and create a plaza to the south of the EY building, which will include new terracing and an outdoor performance area.

“The plaza is going to be sheltered by the PCEC and the EY building, and we have great streets and arcades and laneways running through Brookfield Place and this gives us a town square to the precinct,” Mr Schibrowski said.

“We like to integrate all our buildings in with great transport infrastructure, that is something we do from Wynyard, to New York, to Canary Wharf.

“We want to see that our office amenity is closely coupled with transport and that is right over the top of the busport, a very short walk to Esplanade train station and a short walk from St Georges Terrace.

“Over the top of that there will be a rejuvenated transit hall for the busport as you come up to the PCEC level, and good quality amenity for retail.

“It actually forms a really nice public space next to the EY building and we see it almost as being the town square for Brookfield Place.”

Development approval for Esplanade Plaza has been delayed after the City of Perth local development assessment panel deferred its deliberations, but is anticipated in coming weeks.

The initial design has been criticised by the Office of the Government Architect, which called it ‘uninspiring’.

Further to the west, Brookfield is playing a longer game at Bishop’s See, which it co-owns with Hawaiian.

Current assets within Bishop’s See include the KPMG building at 235 St Georges Terrace, the Terrace Hotel building and the Lamont’s Restaurant building.

There is a development site to the north of 235 St Georges terrace, opposite Woodside’s new head office.

“We really like Bishop’s See because it’s really the final piece of quite a good precinct in its own right,” Mr Schibrowski said.

“We’ve got interests in the gardens there and we can do a smaller lifestyle kind of building on the eastern side of the gardens.

“With the Terrace Hotel and 235 St Georges Terrace, and Woodside opening across the road it is a precinct in its own right.

Brookfield likes to work in precincts rather than one building at a time, so we are not keen in any way to let that opportunity go.

“We see that as the western end of our precinct and 108 St Georges Terrace and EQ as the eastern end.”

Mr Schibrowski said Brookfield was comfortable with its portfolio and development pipeline, preferring to focus on the areas immediately around Brookfield Place and resisting opportunities being taken by other developers that are designed to extend the Perth to the north, instead of its current east-west axis.

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