25 Jul 2012

Piazza pizazz plan for Martin Place

A group of the leading property owners in Sydney’s Martin Place is considering plans to revive the historic address with the creation of a European-style piazza.

Martin Place, once the city’s financial heart, is suffering as the big four banks and others move to new locations.

More than 100,000 square metres of space is, or will be, up for lease, and a number of flagship buildings are being reworked.

The owners’ group has already met City of Sydney Council to discuss a “common vision” that would open Martin Place to more outdoor restaurants and cafes.

A spokesperson for the group said the plans were embryonic but noted that a European style square, with outdoor cafes and restaurants, would entice people into the city centre after business hours.

Martin Place is virtually empty at weekends and the landlords are considering a co-ordinated move to overhaul their retail space.

CBRE’s senior director, office services in Sydney, Jenine Cranston, said the owners were taking an innovative approach to combat the influence of the new towers at Barangaroo with proposals that would reinvent and revitalise the space.

“It’s the first community strategy in the CBD that I can remember,” she said.

The location has had some good news recently with Macquarie Group, often dubbed “the masters of Martin Place”, opting to remain in the precinct.

Macquarie Group has bought the sumptuous former Commonwealth Bank building at 50 Martin Place and will convert it to a new workplace. The company will move in from 1 Martin Place in 2014.

International law firm Ashurst is also close to signing a rental agreement for 5 Martin Place, the reworking and extension of the “Money Box” building.

The owners involved in the piazza-style plan include GPT, Investa Property, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Charter Hall, Cbus Property, Pembroke Real Estate, Abacus Property and Gwynvill.

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