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Office vacancy set to test the record books

05/01/2019 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

The Barangaroo project on Sydney’s harbourside is the new banking hub for the city.It has been a busy period for the Sydney office market as it benefits from multiple tailwinds, including conversion of sites to apartments, new ways of working, which impact floor space and demand from new tenants.
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Start-up companies are also heading back to the secondary market which is being upgraded into flexible and “funky” non-traditional offices.

There is also the shift of tenants from the older properties, which are now being redeveloped, to the new, at Barangaroo South.

The city has shifted its focus into zones, with the investment banking community cementing their presence at the Northern end near Macquarie Street, the start-up and tech kids preferring Martin Place and the financial and commercial banking business moving west to Darling Harbour.

AMP Capital and Lendlease​ are also undertaking a combined $2 billion revamp of Circular Quay.

Colliers International estimate that up to 368,000 square metres of stock has been earmarked to be withdrawn from the Sydney CBD office market through to 2019 and beyond, some 60,750 sqm of which will be acquired by the state government for the construction of the metro line project.

The firm has forecast that government and business services demand will drive office vacancy to a historical low of 4 per cent by 2017.

Luke Dixon, associate director of Colliers research, said Sydney vacancy is falling rapidly due to the nexus between building withdrawals and surging tenant demand. Sydney has the highest number of building withdrawals in Australia, an estimated 390,000 sqm of space will be withdrawn from the market by 2018, according to the group’s forecasts.

“Withdrawals will be a significant contributor to lower overall vacancy in Sydney, however surging tenant demand from the government, business services, healthcare and financial services sectors will continue to put additional pressure on available space over the short to medium term,” Mr Dixon said.

Colliers is forecasting 300,000 sqm of positive net absorption for the next five years in Sydney CBD.

“Our absorption forecasts points to the strength of tenant demand generally. Colliers Enquiry data shows that in the next 18 months, government, financial and business services tenants will be the key driving sectors behind rising tenant demand.”

Mr Dixon added that the fall in vacancy and strong tenant demand outlook will have a positive impact on effective rents, and incentives for landlords as space becomes scarcer.

According to Colliers International’s latest Office Demand Index, large businesses looking for more than 3,000 sqm of office space accounted for over 50 per cent of the total area enquired for in the first quarter of 2016, while representing just 9 per cent of the total number of enquiries, by volume.

Small businesses looking for 1,000 sqm or less accounted for almost 80 per cent of the total number of enquiries recorded in the first quarter this year.

There was an increase in average size requirement in the Sydney CBD, from under 1,000 sqm in the first quarter of 2015 to more than 1,600 sqm in the same time in 2016.

“We have found that compared to this time last year, on average, businesses are enquiring for more space,” Simon Hunt, Colliers International managing director of office leasing, said.

“This quarter, we have seen the greatest number of large businesses enquire for office space in almost 10 years, which has contributed to the increase in the average area currently in demand,” Mr Hunt said.

“This trend is also flowing through to transactions. In the first quarter of 2016, we have seen an increase of more than 15,000 sqm or 22 per cent in the amount of office space leased.

“Larger businesses are doing the deals at the moment and this is showing up in both transactional and demand data. In the coming months, we expect smaller businesses will also increase their activity.”

Simon Crouch, Colliers International head of tenant advisory, said in Sydney, much of this smaller demand had been created by the compulsory acquisition of buildings associated with the Sydney Metro project.

“Since February 2016 we have been appointed by 10 businesses averaging 300 sqm in size who require expert advice to help them through the relocation process,” Mr Crouch said.

Developments leading to rent gains

05/01/2019 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

The current development cycle has been triggered by the influx of residents into city-based locations.
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In turn, the wave of new construction, has led to a rise in rent as office space scarcity increases.

Michael Lochtenberg​, director of leasing and development, North Sydney and Sydney CBD, at CI Australia, says the tide is going in the right direction and that has not been the case for a few years.

“The main tenants are start-up companies, information technology and small to medium-sized businesses,” Mr Lochtenberg said.

“In North Sydney alone there are seven deals pending and most of the inquiries are from the tech industry and tech support businesses. The new developments at 100 Mount Street and 177 Pacific Highway and of course, in the Sydney CBD in Martin Place.”

Mr Lochtenberg said the start-ups are also creating renewed life in the office markets as the landlords develop roof-top bars, lobby cafes and more amenities for staff with agile workplaces.

This, he says, is helping boost the rent roll for landlords.

Peter Carstairs​, general manager, research at Investa, says we are not yet at the top, particularly the Sydney market.

“Although at face value office yields in Sydney are now around levels seen at the last market peak in 2007, the economic drivers at this point in the cycle are completely different,” he said.

“In 2007 the global economy was in growth mode, consumer price index [CPI] was running above 3 per cent, wages growth was over 4 per cent and 10 year bonds were above 6 per cent, which resulted in a negative yield spread to Sydney prime office yields which peaked at 5.4 per cent,” Mr Carstairs said.

“Today the global economy is struggling to drive sustained growth. Inflation is subdued [last CPI print was negative] and accordingly 10 year bond rates are below 3 per cent. Therefore there remains a healthy yield spread to office yields of over 200 basis points which is very healthy from a global perspective.”

Mr Carstairs said the market seems to have an over-estimation bias to when and how quickly interest rates rise. Forecasts for US Fed interest rate rises keep getting pushed further out, and in Australia there is a chance that interest rates will get even lower before there is a possibility of a rise.

“We certainly think that we are in a structurally lower interest rate environment and will be for some time,” he said.

“While the Australian economy overall is weak [that is growing below trend] it is still performing well on a relative basis by global standards. Added to this, the industry sectors that drive demand for office space [namely finance and business services] are the best-performing sectors in the country, and have been for a number of years.

“For that reason we think that the outlook for office is stronger than the rest of the economy, and we think vacancy rates will fall in Sydney, as demand will be robust [driven by growing finance and business services tenants] and asset withdrawals for residential/hotels/metro rail will mitigate supply. This will drive rental growth”

He added that the market tends to focus just on yields, but market rental growth is an equally important driver of capital growth, and we expect rent growth to drive the bulk of capital appreciation from this point. “However, we think there is still more cap rate compression to come of about 50 basis points.”

Martin Place revamp brings in new designs

05/01/2019 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Investa has started construction on 151 Clarence Street, which will provide state of the art interiors. Photo: supplied 60 Martin Place in the Sydney CBD.
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One of the characteristics of the Sydney skyline has been the number of cranes.

According to the Rider Levitt Bucknall​ crane index, Sydney currently has 288 cranes on construction sites from the City to North Sydney and out to the west and south.

It has been one of the busiest development and construction periods since the lead-up to the 2000 Olympic Games. Sydney city has seen the lion’s share thanks to the Lendlease​ Barangaroo South project and the $3.4 billion revamp of the Darling Harbour precinct, which includes the International Convention Centre, new Sofitel​ hotel and Darling Quarter.

In the City, aside from older buildings redeveloped into apartments, there have been changes to a number of office towers, one being 60 Martin Place.

Fronting Martin Place, the building is bordered by Macquarie Street to the east and Phillip Street to the west.

The premium grade, 40,000 square metre, new generation building, is designed by one of Australia’s pre-eminent architectural firms, Hassell, following an international design excellence process.

It is located opposite the Reserve Bank, in close proximity to the Parliament of NSW and the Supreme Court, it sits at the heart of finance, law and government.

Michael Cook, group executive, Investa, said 60 Martin Place is a building designed with longevity and continuous change in mind and will transcend property cycles.

“The finishes and materials are versatile, classical and elegant and will survive the vagaries of fashion. The building has been conceived for tenants with horizons of 20, 30 and 40 years and stands well apart from any other premium office space alternative in the leasing market right now,” Mr Cook said.

Mark Tait, head of commercial developments, Investa, added 60 Martin Place is an exciting opportunity for Investa​ and Gwynvill​ to deliver a truly unique workplace and public amenity offering at the top of Martin Place, that will make a significant contribution to the revitalisation of the precinct.

“The site has panoramic views of the Opera House, Botanical Gardens and Sydney Harbour to the North from both the low and high rise levels,” Mr Tait said.

It is the only premium-grade building on the eastern side of the CBD with uninterrupted harbour views and a transport-oriented development with easy access to Martin Place station, Elizabeth Street buses and the George Street light rail.

Investa has also started construction of its development of Barrack Place at 151 Clarence Street, making way for a new, next generation A-grade workplace. The 18 storey, 22,000 sqm building is designed to achieve a 5-star Green Star and a 5-star NABERS Energy rating.

Demolition for the existing 16,000 sqm B-grade building commenced in March following the appointment of Built as the main works contractor overseeing the demolition, excavation and construction of the office development.

Shen Chiu​, senior development manager, Investa, said the pre-committed tenant is Arup, which was impressed by the efficiencies provided by an integrated fitout.

“Built’s track record as an experienced first-class contractor will see the building’s design, by Architectus​, translate to a striking new building for the city skyline and lend itself to the revitalisation occurring in this traditional warehouse district of the CBD,” Mr Chiu said.

Election 2016: Labor pledges $60 million to ABC, but won’t rule out changes to copyright

05/01/2019 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Labor arts spokesman Mark Dreyfus has pledged $60 million to the ABC for local drama. Photo: ABC LatelineAustralian Greens pledge $270 million boost to culture as party unveils arts policyArts funding shock: Malcolm Turnbull has ‘seriously let down the arts community’Budget 2016: Hundreds of job losses expected in the performing artsAustralia Council ‘one major cut away’ from not functioning
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​Labor has pledged an additional $80 million to the Australia Council for the Arts and $60 million to the ABC to produce local drama as part of its arts policy.

But it will not rule out changes to copyright laws despite vocal opposition from authors and publishers who claim the book industry is at risk.

Labor’s arts policy, outlined in a media release, states it will approach “any proposals or recommendations to adjust the current territorial copyright regime with caution”.

Labor leader Bill Shorten and arts spokesman Mark Dreyfus will also pledge to shut down the controversial Catalyst fund, which it labels a “ministerial slush fund”, and return unspent money to the Australia Council when they unveil the party’s arts policy in Melbourne on Saturday.

A spokeswoman said Labor was unable to return the $105 million stripped from the Australia Council in the 2015 budget (later partially restored by new Arts Minister Mitch Fifield) in its entirety because much of it had been spent.

But a Shorten-led government would return all unspent funds, estimated to be $30 million, to the Australia Council.

The release of Labor’s arts policy comes as the sector begins to lobby politicians in earnest.

Mr Dreyfus and Greens arts spokesman Adam Bandt have pledged to participate in a debate on the arts organised by ArtsPeak on June 8 at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. Senator Fifield is also expected to attend the event.

A national day of action is planned for June 17 to protest cuts to arts funding, and a petition and donation drive has been set up to save lobby group the National Association for the Visual Arts, which missed out on Australia Council funding last month.

Labor’s policy document accuses the Abbott-Turnbull government of delivering chaos and cuts to the arts.

“The Abbott-Turnbull government destroyed the principle of arms-length, independent arts funding in this country by ripping $105 million away from the Australia Council and using it to create a ministerial slush fund, Catalyst,” its media release states. “This is wrong – arts funding should never be a political plaything of the government of the day.”

Labor claims a Shorten-led government has “a plan to fix the damage and restore our creative industries to their rightful place at the centre of Australia’s cultural and economic life”.​

Its arts policy includes an $80 million boost during four years from 2017 to the Australia Council, the federal government’s arts funding agency. The ABC will receive an extra $60 million, which Labor claims will deliver an estimated 30 hours of local drama.

The regional arts fund will receive an $8 million boost to focus on artistic skills development among disadvantaged communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and isolated towns.

There is also the offer of $2 million a year to expand school music programs such as Music: Count Us In, Musica Viva in Schools and the Song Room.

Bookmarks: News and views from the book world

05/01/2019 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

A.S. Patric. Photo: Craig SillitoeNo lounging around
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It’s been a pretty good week for Barry Scott, the man who runs Transit Lounge. A.S. Patric’s Black Rock White City is the first novel the small Melbourne outfit has published to be shortlisted for the Miles Franklin. The book was reprinted before its longlisting was announced but that order has sold out and another reprinting is under way. Scott says it should be available next week. “I was advised by our distributor to do another 1200, and as it’s printed locally we can easily get another one down.”

Scott has been running Transit Lounge for about 10 years and publishes 10-12 books a year. Recent books include Hugo Race’s Road Series and Patrick Holland’s One. You may remember Scott from his days as the awards project officer and co-ordinator of literary events at the State Library of Victoria. So what effect will the shortlisting have on Transit Lounge? Scott says the publisher will be more visible and he has already noticed more people following the company on Twitter and wanting to see its books. “We’ve had more manuscripts sent in even though we have something on the website saying we aren’t accepting unsolicited manuscripts.”

There’s also the question of greater confidence in what you’re publishing that comes from a shortlisting such as this. He is hopeful that William Lane’s The Salamanders and Nike Sulway’s Dying in the First Person will tickle the judges’ fancy next year. When Scott established Transit Lounge he wanted to publish Australian authors writing about other cultures and people writing from overseas about here. “We have moved away from that a bit; we were a bit more travel based than we are now.”

He does have another book from Patric looming. Atlantic Black is set on an ocean liner just before the outbreak of the Second World War. A wager on the prize

So who’s going to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award? All will be revealed at the opening of the Melbourne Writers Festival on August 26. But those helpful literary types at sportsbet上海龙凤419m.au have released their odds.

Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things is the hot favourite, paying $1.70, which is probably not surprising given that Wood’s novel has already won the Stella Prize and Indie book of the year.

The four other shortlisted authors – all in that position for the first time – follow her. A.S Patric (Black Rock White City) is second favourite at $2.75, while Peggy Frew (Hope Farm) and Myfanwy Jones (Leap) are both on $11 and Lucy Treloar (Salt Creek) on $16.