Sydney skyline brightened with new-look $200m skyscraper

Developers are defying the impact of the pandemic with the launch of a new-look office tower as the city starts to crawl back to life, albeit at a slow pace.

Sydney’s later office skyscraper, the revamped American Express site at 388 George Street has officially opened, with Aware Super and QBE Insurance taking up residence.

The newly-built retail podium on the former concrete slab entry will open its doors later this year with a large upmarket retail tenant reportedly set to anchor it. A new enlarged food court is opening in about March to complete the revamp.

The new-look office tower and retail podium at 388 George Street, Sydney.
The new-look office tower and retail podium at 388 George Street, Sydney.

Joint owners Brookfield Properties and Oxford Investa Property Partners (OIPP) and developer Multiplex on Tuesday unveiled the 388 George Street site, the former distinctive American Express office tower that was previously home to NRMA, IAG insurance.


After a $200 million revamp the 28-storey, 35,000-square-metre tower will be the new home for QBE Insurance as the 51 per cent anchor, with First State Super occupying 9500 square metres – or about 27 per cent – upon completion.

The ground level and pavilion building were designed by architects FJMT and the overall project
comprised a complete refurbishment of the original 28-storey, 1970s office building.

Danny Poljak, executive vice-president and co-head of Brookfield Properties, said the completion of 388 George Street and the addition of the new pavilion building has added “immense value to the otherwise under-utilised space and we are proud of the quality outcome that our team has

Nicole Quagliata, fund manager at OIPP, added that the recently completed improvements establish the building as a “leading contemporary workplace and the mixed-use podium will provide a premium retail amenity to this exceptional George Street location”.

The opening comes as signs of life appear in the Sydney leasing market, according to agents.

Simon Hunt, managing director office leasing at Colliers International, said the office leasing team in October nationally transacted 52 deals for more than 55,000 square metres of office space.

“These numbers provide us with confidence that while businesses did put their real estate decisions on hold during COVID-19 restrictions, they’re now feeling much more comfortable with how the market is playing out and as a result are transacting,” Mr Hunt said.

“Earlier in the year, the Sydney CBD had a few large briefs hit the market; however, these were put on hold due to COVID-19 and we should begin to see these hit the market now in the near future.”

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