After taking a major foothold in the Brisbane CBD’s ‘golden triangle’ with the acquisition of the city’s famed Blue and Gold towers, Marquette Properties has laid plans for a $100 million office development after spending the past two years mulling over design plans for the precinct.
The eight-storey development will be built alongside the Gold Tower, located at 10 Eagle Street, and will be a scaled down version that former owner Dexus Property Group (ASX: DXS) had planned for the site.
Marquette Properties managing director Toby Lewis says the group has taken a ‘less is more’ approach to the development with the aim of complementing the Gold Tower, which for a long time held the title as Brisbane’s tallest building.
“This is really about maximising the potential of the site, but we were very eager to ensure this building wasn’t just an add on and that it integrated with the Gold Tower,” Lewis tells Business News Australia.
“The team has worked very hard on this proposal with key input from all stakeholders being sought over the last 12 months to ensure that the beauty of the old is complimented by the new.”
Dexus already set the precedent by previously developing an annexe building on the site of the Blue Tower at 12 Creek Street. Marquette’s plans for the Gold Tower will be the first major development undertaken on the property since it was built in 1978.
“The Gold Tower lobby experience and retail experience will be much improved by this new design,” says Lewis. “It will activate the street well and also reorient the lobbies of the Gold Tower to Charlotte Street more. With the opening of the Albert Street train station just one-and-a-half blocks away, the whole hierarchy of the street and the foot traffic will change so we have tried to respond to that as well.”
Marquette Properties has enlisted Cavill Architects to design the building and director of the design firm Andrew D’Occhio says it comes at a pivotal time for the golden triangle precinct.
“The recent approval of the nearby Waterfront Brisbane precinct will see the open space of Charlotte and Mary Street extended to the river, reconnecting this part of Eagle Street to the waterfront,” he says.
“The application proposes to extend this new public realm though the Gold Tower’s site and into the pedestrian realm of Market Street. Along with a material language drawn from this part of town’s layered heritage, the proposal will link for the first time the city’s Helidon Heritage axis from Anzac Square to the river.”
Marquette has submitted a development application for the new tower which will have a net lettable area of about 6,000sqm with a significant new ground-floor retail precinct for the golden triangle. The company plans to start construction in 2023, although building costs could be a stumbling block to the timetable.
Marquette has already received leasing inquiries for the new office building, some with the potential to take out the entire tower.
“We’ve been really pleased with the response we’ve received,” says Lewis.
Marquette Properties, in partnership with Lendlease (ASX: LLC) bought the Blue Tower in January last year for $391 million. It acquired the Gold Tower from Dexus in 2021 for $285 million and now has about $1.3 billion in assets under management.
Lewis remains confident in the Brisbane office market despite rising interest rates leading to a softening of property prices and some ‘disappointing’ sales last year.
After a strong couple of years for the leasing market, Lewis says businesses are ‘still strong and people have had plenty of warning to factor in higher interest rates and a slowing economy’.
Although Lewis is forecasting a rough six months ahead, he is confident that the market will stabilise in the second half as interest rates peak.
He also sees geopolitical concerns around China affecting the appeal of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing for Asia-Pacific investors.
“That positions Brisbane as a top six city for the region rather than a top 10, so I think we have a huge amount of upside to come and we really haven’t even scratched the surface on the Olympics story yet.”
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