Developer Billbergia has launched its leasing campaign for North Sydney’s tallest office tower, its 50-level commercial development at 88 Walker Street, through commercial real estate agency, Colliers International.
Once complete around the third quarter of 2022, it will be the first new commercial office development to be delivered in North Sydney since 2020 and is expected to capitalise on pent-up market demand combined with post-COVID leasing trends including ‘flight to quality’, exclusivity and a desire to reduce commuting times.
Construction of the 5-Star Green Star tower in North Sydney has passed Level 8, being built cantilevering over the air space above the heritage-listed Firehouse Hotel – dramatically increasing the floorspace from around 4,000 square metres to more than 24,000 square metres.
The 1,076-square-metre amalgamated site comprises 86 Walker Street, the former North Sydney Fire Station now operating as the Firehouse Hotel and 88 Walker Street, where an ageing nine-level building once stood.
Managing Director of the Billbergia Group, John Kinsella AM, said progressing through the COVID period, the project has risen through technical ingenuity and is destined to provide enviable and well-connected corporate homes to businesses far into the future.
“I am a firm believer that it’s a priority for Australian property groups to deliver well-serviced business and residential communities, and here it is demonstrated not only by the depth of the immediate corporate environment but also by the location, form and mix of the building.”
88 Walker Street will stand at an impressive 179 metres above street level and join other recent new developments in the precinct including 100 Mount Street and 1 Denison Street. It will stand six levels above the adjoining 100 Mount Street project, with clear view lines back to the harbour and Sydney CBD.
Designed by award-winning, high-profile architects Fitzpatrick + Partners, 88 Walker Street will comprise 23 levels of commercial office space above a 252-suite 4-star hotel to be operated by Citadines.
The hotel will occupy 21 levels of the tower including two floors of public amenity comprising a restaurant, bar, business lounge and reception.
Commercial office floors commence from Level 25 and will deliver approximately 12,200 square metres of light-filled, open-plan, A-Grade office accommodation.
With an average, subdivisible floor plate size of 560 square metres, a signature design element at 88 Walker Street is its glass-encased ‘skylink’ – fire stairs that provide inter-floor connectivity, enabling vertical business-villages to be created within multi-floor tenancies.
An innovative side core enables some levels of the tower to be integrated, providing multi-level offices of up to 1,700 square metres in size.
88 Walker Street boasts an impressive eight levels of facilities across the hotel and commercial components, including a ground-floor cafe, a restaurant, executive lounge, hotel gym, and three levels of end-of-trip tenant amenities.
Separation of the hotel and commercial office components is achieved with a hotel lobby entrance on the ground floor and a multi-storey lobby incorporating escalator access to Level One and the dedicated office lobby.
Paul Reidy, Partner at Fitzpatrick + Partners, said 88 Walker Street tells a story of North Sydney’s transformation into a key commercial component of the global city Sydney has become.
“The slender, cantilevered design of the tower delivers a more boutique offering than some of the large floor plate, super-towers in North Sydney’s CBD and enables smaller users to achieve a whole-floor corporate presence,” he commented.
“88 Walker Street has been designed as a pair of served and servant curved forms, with one hovering above the heritage building in a cantilevered form while the other lands to ground the tower.”
A through-site link connects Walker Street to Little Spring Street and together with a café and associated seating areas, will increase activation in line with North Sydney Council’s Laneway Network initiative.
Making a significant contribution to public amenity in North Sydney’s CBD, the ground floor lobby to the office and hotel at 88 Walker Street flows into the public domain of the neighbouring 1 Denison Street and 100 Mount Street, creating a new food and beverage precinct in the heart of the CBD.
With ESD at the core of its design, 88 Walker Street is targeting a 5-Star NABERS rating and a 5-Star Green Star rating with sustainability features including a high-performance building façade, high-efficiency HVAC systems design, low energy lighting systems and optimal BMCS design, commissioning, and operation.
Notably, the building includes 137 bicycle holding spaces within the end-of-trip facilities and no car parking, relying on being well serviced by the forthcoming North Sydney Metro Station, North Sydney Train Station and numerous public car parks in the immediate vicinity.
According to Colliers International, 88 Walker Street will deliver a unique product to the top end of the market.
Michael Lochtenberg, Director – Leasing & Development at Colliers International noted that the opening of the new Metro in 2024 will provide even greater accessibility to the Sydney CBD, and North Sydney will soon be recognised as ‘Sydney North’.
He said that despite a spate of new commercial office developments in North Sydney in recent years, there are no other projects scheduled to complete before 88 Walker Street in mid-2022.
“A hiatus in supply over the next 24 months will allow backfill vacancy to be absorbed before potential new supply emerges from 2023 and beyond.”
Asking rentals at 88 Walker Street have not been disclosed, yet leases in both new office developments and existing assets achieving net face rents from the high $800 to over $1,000 per square metre per annum.