23 September 2022

Charter Hall adds planned new Tax Office to its growing Canberra portfolio

| Ian Bushnell
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New Tax Office

An artist’s impression of the planned new Tax Office in Barton. Photo: BVN.

Property investment group Charter Hall will add the proposed new home of the Australian Taxation Office in Barton to its burgeoning portfolio of government-tenanted office buildings in Canberra.

Charter Hall said its Prime Office Fund had acquired the premium office site at 15 Sydney Avenue, Barton, from development partners DOMA and Kenyon Investments.

It will pay for the design and construction of the new $119 million Tax Office headquarters, and own the building.

The six-storey building will provide over 33,000sqm of floor space with large floor plates and excellent natural light, views and strong sustainability credentials.

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Charter Hall Group Managing Director and Group CEO David Harrison said Canberra’s low vacancy rates and the reliability of the Commonwealth as a customer were an attraction.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with both DOMA and the Commonwealth Government as a long-term tenant customer, as we modernise our office portfolio and select low vacancy markets which will drive long-term growth for our investors.”

DOMA and Kenyon Investments acquired the site from the Department of Finance in 2019 for $38 million.

The ATO announced last week that its 2000-plus staff would be moving from the city to the new, purpose-built building in Barton and had signed a 15-year lease at a cost of $323.4 million.

It expects to move in during 2025.

The development partners have engaged Canberra-based construction firm Bloc to deliver the project. Bloc also built DOMA’s Little National Hotel which sits behind the Tax Office site.

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Australian-based global architecture firm BVN has designed the building, which will aim for a 4.5 NABERS energy efficiency rating and a 5 Greenstar rating.

DOMA has lodged a Works Approval with the National Capital Authority and is hoping to commence construction in April 2023.

Charter Hall is also believed to be conducting due diligence on the current ATO headquarters at 21 Genge Street in the city, for a purchase price of $300 million.

It is also awaiting settlement on the Geoscience Australia building in Symonston for a recording-breaking $370 million.

The deals add up to an impressive portfolio of Canberra office properties.

In the past year or so, Charter Hall has acquired the Louisa Lawson Building (Services Australia) in Tuggeranong, ActewAGL House in the city, the Doris Blackburn Building (Services Australia) in Forrest, 24 Wormald Street, Symonston (Attorney-General’s) and 50 Marcus Clarke Street (Department of Education, Skills and Employment and the Digital Transformation Agency).

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