Chinese financial services giant Ping An is pushing further into the Australian property market through a $1 billion joint venture with Lendlease and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi, according to a statement late last week by the Aussie real estate developer.
Shenzhen-based Ping An Real Estate is taking a 50 percent stake in a planned commercial complex on Sydney’s Circular Quay, while Mitsubishi Estate Asia is claiming 30 percent and Lendlease will retain 20 percent of the deal.
“The partnership brings the vision of the Circular Quay precinct to life and will drive increased momentum for the proposal,” said Lendlease’s Chief Executive Officer for Property, Kylie Rampa in a statement.
International architecture powerhouses including Hassell; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Foster and Partners; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and HOK are all understood to be competing to provide the design for the project. When complete, the harbourside complex will include a low rise public building, a large public plaza fronting George Street, a secondary plaza on Rugby Place and a network of laneways all anchored by a 248 metre-high tower.
Asian Financing Driving Aussie Projects
“With Ping An Real Estate and Mitsubishi Estate Asia, we have secured two major global strategic partners to complement our development expertise, to transform the Circular Quay sites,” Lendlease’s Rampa said.
For Ping An Real Estate, the investment is its latest Australian investment as the property investment wing of the Chinese insurer hunts for higher returns away from its mainland home.
The real estate investment specialist provider has already established joint ventures in Australia’s residential sector with local developer Mirvac, including investing in a 500 apartment condo development in Sydney during June of this year. That project at St Leonard’s Square was Ping An’s second cooperative effort with Mirvac after the two companies had joined hands for a 226 apartment project in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo during December last year.
More recently, Ping An’s asset management division in November entered into a memorandum of understanding with Australian fund manager QIC that calls for the two companies to cooperate on real estate and infrastructure investments down under.
Chinese Crowd into Circular Quay
When the project is completed, Ping An is likely to have some familiar neighbors at the project near Sydney’s famed opera house. Nearly two years ago China’s Dalian Wanda Group announced its own billion dollar project at the site of the current Gold Fields House on Circular Quay, with plans including a five-star hotel, apartments, and commercial space.
State-owned Poly Real Estate is also investing in the neighborhood, with the top five Chinese real estate developer having spent A$160 million ($115 million) to acquire two office buildings on nearby George Street during July of this year.
Ping An has been among China’s most prolific cross-border real estate investors. The insurer entered first entered the London market in 2013 with the ₤260 million ($390 million at the time) purchase of the Lloyd’s of London building. Ping An also invested in a commercial project with Tishman Speyer in Boston as well as committing $1 billion to logistics assets in the US.