GIC in joint venture to buy office building in Australia for $322 million

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES)- GIC and Australian-listed property group Charter Hall on Dec 6 announced their establishment of a joint venture to acquire the 50 Marcus Clarke office building in Canberra, Australia, for A$335 million (S$322 million).

The Grade A office building is located in Canberra’s Central Business District, with a net leasable area of 40,000 sq m. GIC and Charter Hall said the asset was built with above-market sustainability credentials, and has “access to all major amenities and transport facilities”.

According to the Charter Hall’s managing director and group chief executive David Harrison, the Australian government is a major tenant customer of the building, and the acquisition of the asset further increases the group’s exposure to Canberra’s growing office market.

The Business Times understands Australia’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is headquartered at the building.

News of GIC and Charter Hall joining forces to buy 50 Marcus Clarke first emerged in October, when Australian media reported on the acquisition, which was then said to be more than A$300 million, although the final consideration had yet to be confirmed.

Online news portal Realestatesource.com.au noted in an October article that the supposed consideration of “just over A$300 million” was “much less” than the reported A$350 million guide price when the asset was listed for sale in April this year.

According to Australian real estate agency Allhomes, the property was sold to South Korean investment group Mirae Asset Global Investments for a “record-breaking” price of about A$321 million in early 2017.

In its joint statement on Dec 6, GIC’s Asia ex-China co-head of real estate Kishore Gotety called the acquisition a “strong investment” while noting the positive performance of Canberra’s market amid Covid-19, which he attributed to continued macroeconomic growth and low office vacancy.

“Going forward, we expect steady office demand, underpinned by healthy employment growth and government demand,” he said.

GIC chief investment officer of real estate Lee Kok Sun said this acquisition will help to further diversify GIC’s portfolio in key office areas across Australia, especially as it approaches the opening of its Sydney office.

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