Development Explosion Continues in Sydney’s Geographical Centre

15 February, 2016 / Andrew Jolliffe
160215 Albion Hotel Aerial

Development Explosion Continues in Sydney’s Geographical Centre

With as many active cranes in the sky as any other Australian city, Parramatta continues to be a highly compelling investment hub for domestic and international developers, as residents from other suburbs flock to the same area that major corporate organisations are centralising operations.

Reflecting a continuation of this theme, leading hotel and restaurant organisation Solotel is, after 30 years of owner operation, putting the impressive Parramatta riverside Albion Hotel land up for sale through leading agents Andrew Jolliffe and Jeff Moxham of Ray White, and Anthony Khoury of Khoury Partners.

“’Parramatta is most definitely of hot bed of activity at present, and for good reason given not only its strategic geography but the numerous significant infrastructure projects underway,” said Ray White Commercial NSW Managing Director Jeff Moxham.

Jeff Moxham believes Parramatta, a city which he has sold property in for two decades, is at the top of the list for developers in the market.

“Myself, Andrew Jolliffe and our respective teams visit our Asia offices quarterly, and one of the first questions we’re asked by our clients is what premium development sites we have available in Parramatta?” Jeff Moxham advised.

With the site’s recent Gateway status endorsement as part of a Planning Proposal submitted to Parramatta Council in March 2015, Solotel owner Bruce Solomon believes the timing is right for the Solotel Group to divest itself of the Parramatta land, whilst retaining the hotel license, and in doing so divert resources towards the award winning direction the ever expanding group is heading in respect of its market leading properties such as Double Bay’s Golden Sheaf, Aria and Chiswick restaurants, and the now world famous Opera Bar at Circular Quay.

“To fully maximise the benefit of the Albion Hotel site, one has to commit to delivering mixed use site in excess of 26,000 sqm gfa which, upon completion, will be the premium development in the area,” Mr Solomon said.

“However, the simple fact is that whilst we are very good at some things, we are not developers, and as such it seems sensible to us to move on and allow the experts to create the landmark development the site deserves.”

Fresh from managing the sale program of the waterfront Crowne Plaza Hotel Terrigal on behalf of well-known fund managers Eureka, leading hotel agent Andrew Jolliffe believes the George St site will appeal to hotel and residential developers alike; including a mixed use outcome.

“The flexibility afforded by this site is absolutely key for developers, and the combination of riverside positioning, north east orientation, scale of the land holding and permissible height levels, suggests to us that the interest in acquiring the opportunity will be both aggressive and certainly not restricted to local Australian development groups,” said Andrew Jolliffe, Ray White’s Asia Pacific Director of Hotels.

“We recently ran a hotel operator selection process for a China based client of ours, for a mixed use site they had in Chatswood, and the international interest from recognised hotel operators, developers and investors was profound.

“’The Albion Hotel site is on many levels a more impressive proposition given the proximate population growth, state and private investment in infrastructure, and comparative lack of hotel keys in the Parramatta area.”

Walker Corporation, Leighton Holdings, Iris Capital, Dyldam, Toplace, Crown and China based Greenland, Chiwayland and Starryland, have all heavily invested in the Parramatta CBD, and several other Tier 1 developers are still looking to place a stake in the ground, said Anthony Khoury of Khoury and Partners.

“And it is not just the residential market that is drawing wide interest, Parramatta is now also experiencing its lowest office vacancy in history with 6% on all grades. Now also the lowest office vacancy nationally,” he said.

The sale of the Albion Hotel will be via an Expressions of Interest campaign concluding Wednesday, March 16, 2016, with Andrew Jolliffe expecting considerable interest.

“On any fair test, this is the best available site in Parramatta. Debt is conveniently priced, the footprint is both flexible in terms of usage options and scale, and Parramatta Council have led the way in terms of supporting well-conceived, well delivered development concepts; and the consequent beneficiaries are the commercial and residential constituents of the Parramatta area.”