State acts to cool concern on assets sale

 The NSW government is hoping to reap $70m from the sale of the Lands Building in Sydney’s Bridge Street, and the Education Building. Source: News Limited

The NSW government is hoping to reap $70m from the sale of the Lands Building in Sydney’s Bridge Street, and the Education Building. Source: News Limited

THE NSW government is expecting $70 million for two sandstone buildings in Sydney’s CBD, but it is fielding concerns from bidders about the lack of car parking and a heritage-listed clock tower that could cause renovation costs to skyrocket.

Since its call for expressions of interest closed in December, the state has attracted interest from 35 companies and consortiums to convert the heritage-listed Lands Building and Education Building in Bridge Street in the core of the city’s financial district into hotels.

Finance Minister Andrew Constance is fielding interest from Hong Kong, France, India, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the US and Britain.

Leading US-based hotelier Starwood is understood to have hooked up with an Asian group to operate the buildings, which have a combined building area of 23,000sq m. A government spokesman told The Weekend Australian that issues such as the heritage-listed clock and the lack of parking were being addressed. “It’s still early in the sales process. We’re happy to take on board any feedback potential buyers might have,” he said.

But sources close to the negotiations said, apart from the clock tower, which will severely restrict the capacity for development, the government must allow substantial residential development on the site to make it stack up financially.

“They must offer significant residential or transferable air rights,” said the executive, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There are issues with floor plates; they are not easy developments.”

But the government said the disposal of the buildings to improve the state’s financial position and help with the delivery of public infrastructure was expected to be announced later this year.

Mr Constance said the local and international interest made it “clear the sale of the sandstone buildings will be strongly contested”.

“These are heritage-listed buildings and the current heritage and planning controls in place will ensure their unique nature is respected and protected,” he said.

“A conservation management plan is being finalised to ensure any new owners have a clear plan to manage the heritage aspects of these properties.”

Source: The Australian

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: