18 November 2021

Molonglo Group selling prominent CBD office building

| Ian Bushnell
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33 Allara Street Canberra

For sale: 33 Allara Street, Canberra. Photo: JLL.

Another prominent commercial building in Canberra’s CBD is on the market amid continuing demand for high-quality office space in the national capital.

Canberra developer Molonglo Group is selling 33 Allara Street after spending $24.4 million on refurbishing the eight-storey building it bought in 2015.

Originally constructed in 1989 as part of a wider precinct comprising the Canberra Convention Centre, Canberra Casino and Glebe Park, the property was acquired by Molonglo with the vision to transform this part of the city.

“33 Allara, its neighbours, and their immediate environs, form a critical part of the CBD public realm and main pedestrian network,” Molonglo Director Nikos Kalogeropolous said.

“Our vision, through our redevelopment of 33 Allara and nearby property 221 London, was to turn this part of the city into a vibrant neighbourhood and place of cultural activity.”

A Molonglo spokesperson said it had been a difficult decision to sell the property, saying the company’s affection for this part of the city runs deep but a strong community has been established at the site and 33 Allara no longer requires extensive property management by Molonglo.

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Molonglo will focus its time and resources on its Dairy Road development near Fyshwick – a 14-hectare neighbourhood slowly developing in Canberra’s East Lake over the next 10 to 15 years.

“A new commission has recently been completed, an experimental structure by Chilean architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen, that includes a native garden linking the landscape of Dairy Road with the adjacent wetlands,” the spokesperson said.

“We are also commencing work on masterplans for the industrial and residential areas.”

Molonglo was entertaining offers of more than $80 million after rejecting an off-market approach from Cromwell of that amount.

Colliers International and JLL are jointly marketing the property through an expression of interest process that closes on 25 November.

The listing says the fully refurbished A-grade building boasts 9736 square metres of lettable space and parking for 117 cars with a combination of government, corporate and hospitality tenants, including the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

The 4.5-star NABERS energy rated building sits on a 3725sqm site with 94 metres of street frontage in City East, close to new development, major occupiers, transport, lifestyle and retail amenity.

Despite the pandemic, 4114sqm of leasing activity was completed in past 24 months, with a diversified cash flow supported by a 5.21 year WALE at almost 90 per cent occupancy.


One of the leased kiosks attached to the property. Photo: Laing+Simmons.

When fully leased, the building draws a net income of $4,357,540 a year, with all leases featuring fixed annual rental reviews.

There is also an opportunity to develop spare land with a development application approved for a 1016sqm building designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects and Oculus Landscape Architecture.

The Molonglo spokesperson said the southern courtyard had NCA approval for an office pavilion based on sustainable design principles and materials that included retail, cultural and community uses.

Significant improvements have been made to the building in collaboration with Royffe Flynn, Oculus, Durbach Block Jaggers and Aecom Engineers.

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The Molonglo spokesperson said multiple floors had recently been converted into design-led flexible workspaces for small-to-medium sized businesses.

The lobby had been radically improved and features terrazzo flooring, timber cabinetry, custom-designed furniture and a communal meeting space adjacent to a lively coffee bar.

Large steel-framed windows opened to the street front and lively pedestrian promenade.

The spokesperson said sustainability credentials have been lifted and energy performance had been maximised with the building on track to achieve a 5-Star rating.

A series of micro-retail kiosks were also added to the exterior promenade, bringing activity and interest to the street front, while offering workers a quiet space for respite.

Molonglo is one of Canberra’s most innovative developers and property owners, creating the NewActon precinct and now the Dairy Road precinct.

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Residential development at Dairy Road? What, next to a sewerage treatment, a major arterial road, a railway and a snake-infested wetlands reserve?

Maybe the Molonglo Group could help out with the Kingston Arts Precinct? It will need an iconic art work to signal its purpose.

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