Chinese property investment firm Ping An Real Estate has put up for sale its half stake in Sydney’s A$2.4 billion ($1.67 billion) Salesforce Tower, according to reports published this week.
With the tower at 180 George Street in Circular Quay having recently been completed, the real estate arm of mainland insurer Ping An Insurance has appointed property consultancies Cushman & Wakefield and Savills to market its 50 percent ownership of Sydney’s tallest office building, according to an account by local news outlet The Australian on Wednesday. No pricing information was disclosed.
Developed through a joint venture with Australian builder Lendlease and Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate Asia, Ping An Real Estate is exiting its investment in the 55-storey asset less than three months after it was completed in November, with Salesforce having signed up as the anchor tenant in 2019.
Should Ping An succeeds in finding a buyer for its ownership in the project, the company will become the latest Chinese investor to divest Australian real estate assets over the past year, following landmark disposals such as billionaire steel tycoon Du Shuanghua’s Bright Ruby Resources selling the five-star Hilton Sydney hotel to Baring Private Equity Asia (now BPEA EQT) for A$530 million in August 2022.
Initial Backers Cashing in
Shenzhen-based Ping An Real Estate acquired its controlling stake in the harbourside development project in 2016 for an undisclosed sum, a couple of years before construction kicked off in 2018.
Its reported exit plan comes after its JV partner Lendlease divested its 20 percent stake in the project to its flagship Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial vehicle last June, while Mitsubishi Estate Asia continues to hold its 30 percent share.
With more than 80 percent of the 56,000 square metre (602,780 square foot) development now leased, Salesforce will be relocating into its new office on the 34th to 53rd floors of the skyscraper formerly referred to as Sydney Place in the middle of this year.
Other major tenants are expected to move in early this year, including services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) which is setting up its Sydney headquarters on the 25th to 27th floors and Greenhouse, an incubator for climate tech startups operated by venture capital firm Investible, which is set to occupy the first three office floors. US asset manager Wellington Management is also moving into the building, with flexible office provider The Executive Centre taking on the 22nd and 23rd floors.
Last May, Chinese video-sharing platform TikTok reportedly committed to leasing the 18th to 21st floors of the building.
The 263-metre high development will also open its retail element to the public this year, including Jacksons on George, a gastro pub and restaurant popular among locals.
Mingtiandi reached out to Ping An Real Estate and Lendlease for comment but they did not respond by the time of publication. Cushman & Wakefield and Savills both declined to comment.
Mainland Capital Exodus
Just before Bright Ruby completed its sale of the Hilton Sydney, AWH Investment Group, which is linked to developer China Evergrande, in July sold One Circular Quay, a mixed-use project adjacent to the Salesforce Tower, to a JV between Lendlease and Mitsubishi Estate Asia for A$800 million.
In June, troubled mainland developer China Aoyuan agreed to sell 49 percent of its Australian arm, Aoyuan Property Group Australia, to a family trust controlled by the company’s local partner. Adrian Liaw. While Aoyuan held onto its 51 percent controlling share in APGA, the company booked an estimated loss before related transaction costs from the disposal of A$245.9 million.
In April, China’s Poly Global was marketing for sale three development sites in Melbourne and Sydney, as well as its A$300 million office project on La Trobe Street in the Victorian capital, according to an account by the Sydney Morning Herald.