17 Sep 2014

Challenger mulls move to prime CBD location

Financial services firm Challenger is edging towards moving its Sydney headquarters to 5 Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district.

While a deal is not finalised, sources said the Martin Place building, known as the “money box”, was the frontrunner to land the 9000sq m tenant, which would see Challenger relocate from 255 Pitt Street.

The 5 Martin Place tower is being jointly developed by Cbus Property and the Dexus Property Group/Canada Pension Plan Investement Board partnership.

The project, due for completion early next year, will have a 19-level premium office building with more than 33,000sp m of lettable space.

Challenger played down a potential move, saying it was still the market.

“We may not move at all and are currently in discussions with several landlords regarding premises in Barangaroo, 5 Martin Place and (its current offices at) 255 Pitt Street,” a Challenger spokesman sais.

Its representative, LPC Australia, and the landlords declined to comment.

If a deal goes ahead, Challenger would be the second tenant to pre-commit to the project, after law firm Ashurst last year announced it would move to the building.

The law firm will lease nearly 14,000sq m of space, which is about 44 per cent of the tower.

If Challenger moves, it would be a vote of confidence in the precinct, following Charter Hall’s success in leasing space at 1 Martin Place.

Since Macquarie Group announced last year that it was leaving 1 Martin Place as the sole tenant, Charter Hall has committed LinkedIn, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and law firm DLA Piper to the building.

The fast-expanding Macquarie has agreed to keep 13,000sq m at 1 Martin Place when it moves its headquarters to 50 Martin Place.

Meanwhile, the University of Newcastle has agreed to shift about 3000sq m of its Sydney postgraduate teaching space into Dexus Property Group’s 60 Castlereagh Street, moving out of 60 Bathurst Street if the deal is finalised.

The Australian reported in March that the university had agreed to move to Investa Property Group’s 255 Elizabeth Street, but the parties failed to finalised a deal.

Sources said any lease with the university would not be formalised until the landlord received council approval to refurbish the floors that the tenant would move into.

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