Private developer Billbergia has opened the doors to its $350 million office and hotel complex in the heart of North Sydney, which at 50 storeys will hold the title of the tallest building in the precinct.
Standing at 180 metres, the 88 Walker Street property is home to the new 252-room Citadines Walker North Sydney hotel, now owned by the Singaporean-based Ascott Limited and 24 levels of premium office space that was bought separately by LaSalle Investment Management in early 2022.
The Salesforce tower, developed by Lendlease at Circular Quay, remains the tallest office tower in Sydney, standing at 55 storeys, or 263 metres.
The North Sydney building features a glass curtain facade that sits atop the newly renovated Firehouse pub and was designed by architects fitzpatrick+partners.
It comes as the North Sydney market is undergoing an $11 billion transformation of its commercial and public infrastructure, in addition to the Victoria Cross Metro station, which is currently under construction.
Other new commercial towers in the area include Stockland’s $1.3 billion building at 110-112 Walker Street and Lendlease’s $1.2 billion Victoria Cross projects on top of the metro.
Despite some concerns of flat demand, the office component is already 20 per cent leased to tenants from a range of sectors including healthcare, finance, and technology through CBRE and Colliers.
In the latest Property Council of Australia Office Market Report for the six months ending July, the North Sydney vacancy rate was just about 20 per cent, due to the pending influx of new buildings. Leasing agents says there will be demand from tenants for the new buildings and away from the older assets.
While tenancy details remain confidential, it is believed rents at 88 Walker Street have been inked at more than $1,300 per square metre, per annum, a record for the satellite CBD.
“We are delighted at the completed tower, delivering such a substantial innovative project and contributing to the ongoing transformation of North Sydney,” Saul Moran, development director planning and design at Billbergia, said.
A signature element of the design is its cantilever, which enables the building to sit suspended above the Firehouse Hotel and increases the floor space from around 4000 square metres to more than 22,800 square metres.
“The site provided just 617 square metres of terra firma, so delivering a development of this calibre required us to develop innovative solutions. We were also limited by the amount of onsite storage and the site’s proximity to neighbouring buildings,” Moran said.
Guests at Citadines Walker will enjoy a range of upmarket rooms, including four top-floor Premier Suites complete with kitchenettes. A full-service restaurant and bar within the complex is tipped to open its doors in the new year.
David Mansfield, managing director of The Ascott Limited, Australia, said prime North Sydney CBD location of Citadines Walker “provides a powerful reinforcement of the brand’s growing relevance in the local corporate travel market, and represents a milestone moment for Citadines in Australia”.
As part of the revitalisation of the area, the North Sydney Council has focussed on improving the laneways to provide new pedestrian connections.
Paul Reidy, Partner at fitzpatrick+partners said the building “marks the dawn of a new era for North Sydney”.
“The 88 Walker site in stark contrast to the conventional and box-like forms of the older buildings that have characterised North Sydney,” Reidy said.
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Source: Thanks smh.com