Morris Property Group will push on with construction of its 27-storey office tower having secured a major leasing deal with the Australian Taxation Office at its 152 Wharf Street site on Brisbane's city fringe.
While rumours have long circulated the ATO secured the entirety of 152 Wharf Street, The Urban Developer can confirm the ATO has agreed to lease the Spring Hill building, which the taxation office says it expects to be ready by 2021.
ATO's announcement comes at the end of legal woes on the Wharf Street site.
This month the courts rejected a planning appeal from a local resident, upholding the city council's development approval originally granted to the developer in April last year.
Morris Property Group's general manager Brodie Lister described the drawn out legal process as “frustrating”.
“But we always had the resolve that it would come through” he told The Urban Developer.
As for the ATO's pre-commitment of the yet-to-be constructed tower, “the ATO will be vacating our office in Chermside and maintaining our offices in Elizabeth Street and Upper Mount Gravatt”, an ATO spokesperson told The Urban Developer.
The Wharf Street office, which will offer 24,000sq m of net lettable area, will house a combination of staff from Chermside, Elizabeth Street and Upper Mount Gravatt offices.
Lister couldn't disclose any details of the leasing deal, other than it was “on a long-term lease” .
“There were no leasing agencies involved in the transaction... We do all our leasing deals direct,” he said.
“[The site has] been a good buy for us.”
When the Canberra-based group secured the Spring Hill block it had a scheme for 197 apartments and 30 storeys.
“But given the lacklustre [performance] of the residential market at the moment, construction prices are rising so hard that residential development is just very tight,” Lister said.
“And so the strength of buying 152 Wharf Street was that it had duality of outcome, it allowed us to choose between markets and remain somewhat footloose between those cycles.”
The court’s recent decision also means that the project team will now progress “full-steam ahead” on final design works with commencement on the 1981sq metre site in the coming months.
“The project is a direct response to Brisbane City Council’s planning foresight to accommodate our growing city through initiatives such as the Spring Hill Neighbourhood Plan,” Lister said.
The development project is under Wharf Investment Corporation - an associated entity of Morris Property Group.
The unsuccessful appeal, knocked back this month by the planning and environment court, had been lodged by a local Spring Hill resident.