The new owner of the landmark Lovett Tower in Woden plans to refurbish the former office building to provide A-grade commercial accommodation.
Sydney-based Hunter Investment Corporation, owner of the Hunter Economic Zone, has bought the 25,000 sqm NLA building through an Expression of Interest process run by Burgess Rawson, its first purchase in Canberra.
The seller, Brite Developments, had an already approved development application to convert the previous office spaces in the mothballed tower into a 299-unit mix of serviced apartments and student accommodation as a Build To Rent option, but the new owner won’t be going down that road.
Hunter Investment Corporation Development Manager Victor Cavasinni said in a statement that the company could not pass up the opportunity to acquire one of Canberra’s most iconic commercial towers.
“Woden is going through a fantastic stage of revitalisation, including the new CIT campus and light rail,” he said.
“We aim to set a new benchmark in commercial office space, sustainability and smart workplaces.
“Canberra has been on the cards for some time as we have been growing our portfolio across multiple states.”
Mr Cavasinni said the site was ideally located, with direct access to Westfield Shopping Centre and only 100 m to the bus and future light rail interchange. It will also be close to the soon-to-be-built Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) campus, which will be home to more than 6500 students.
“The town centre is currently experiencing the biggest infrastructure investment and development boom with approximately 3500 apartments just completed, under construction or in planning and the establishment of new entertaining and food precincts,” he said.
The refurbishment could cost $40 million.
Burgess Rawson managing director Guy Randell said there had been strong interest from local and interstate buyers, with the Build To Rent option and opportunity to renew a commercial building the key attractions.
Mr Randell said it was a good result for the Woden Town Centre and would bring more employment back to the area.
“It’s fantastic for the Woden Town Centre; it’s exactly what they all wanted – more jobs, all commercial, and more employment,” he said.
The settlement will be in July. Neither the purchaser nor Mr Randell would reveal the sale price but it has been reported to be about $30 million.
That would mean a $10m windfall for Brite Developments, which paid Cromwell Property Group $19.8m in September, 2020,
Demand for A-grade office space in Canberra is running hot and the new owner will lodge a fresh DA and seek a government anchor tenant or tenants and private businesses.
The 24-storey, 93-m Lovett Tower had been Canberra’s tallest building until Geocon’s High Society eclipsed it in Belconnen.
It had previously been occupied by Commonwealth government departments including Veterans’ Affairs, Environment and Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Hunter Investment Corporation is one of Australia’s most dynamic and well-diversified companies, specialising in projects within the commercial, residential, industrial, resort, retail and energy generating sectors.
The Corporation develops, operates and owns all its assets, and said being both owner and manager means they have “a vested interest in the long-term success” of its assets and tenant relationships.
Last December it acquired GE Tower, 32 Phillip Street, Parramatta for $70 million, which will allow it to expand its commercial portfolio in Parramatta.