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Malaysian group buys Newspaper House for $35m

by April 25, 2017 General

Newspaper House, the heritage Collins Street building with a glittering mural mosaic on its facade, has sold for $35 million just two years after it was acquired by listed Singapore developer/builder Lian Beng for $22.7 million.

In a relatively risky move, Lian Beng snapped up Media House midway through 2015 when the building was vacant.

It was Lian Beng’s first foray into the Melbourne market.

The group has now on-sold the almost fully leased building to a Malaysian-listed conglomerate, Oriental Holdings, controlled by billionaire Loh Kian Chong.

Other interests associated with Mr Kian Chong control the Jasper Hotel in Elizabeth Street, the Strandbags building in Bourke Street Mall and a large ground-floor shop at the base of Camberwell’s Aerial Apartments.

Until recently, they also controlled a two-story building at 469 Elizabeth Street.

Oriental’s new purchase, the seven-storey, art deco, sandstone building at 247 Collins Street, is now almost fully leased and will provide it with a 7½-year weighted average lease expiry profile.

The building’s new tenants include healthcare group Bupa and education provider Discover English.

Sources close to the deal suggest it sold on 4.2 per cent yield on a fully leased basis.

Deals involving Collins Street buildings have been relatively rare.

GPT Group’s unlisted office fund late last year finalised its $275 million acquisition of the ANZ Bank’s former headquarters on the corner of Collins and Queen streets.

In that complex deal, the ANZ retained control over the most prominent of the heritage buildings, the so-called Gothic Bank building, while GPT’s Wholesale Office Fund acquired the commercial core, a 39,000-square-metre office tower behind the historic buildings.

The campaign to sell Newspaper House was managed by CBRE’s Josh Rutman, Kiran Pillai and Mark Wizel in conjunction with Knight Frank’s Paul Henley, Andrew Hansen and George Burbury.