ASX-listed property giant Dexus has commenced construction on 6,000sq m of new retail and dining space across four levels of the landmark MLC Centre in Sydney.
The $170 redevelopment, expected to be completed by the end of 2021, includes plans to revive the Theatre Royal after Dexus committed to a 45-year lease with the NSW Government earlier this year.
The MLC Centre, located in Martin Place, has already undergone significant upgrades in recent years.
GPT and QIC redeveloped the new food court and underground supermarket in 2015 as well as the completion of facade works on the office tower in 2017.
“The MLC Centre has proudly been part of the Sydney landscape since 1978 and this planned transformation will cement the location as a true mixed-use destination,” Dexus head of city retail development Amanda Pieriboni said.
The centre's latest redevelopment will include luxury and premium retail tenancies fronting Castlereagh and King streets as well as a food plaza precinct opening onto Martin Place.
A new entrance and lift lobby to the commercial tower will be also be built in Castlereagh Street with access to the level 7 retail arcade, and a lobby cafe will open on the podium above.
The octagonal tower, designed by famed architect Harry Seidler, was for many years the tallest office building in the country, standing at 67 floors.
“I am so excited about the design of the new works proposed for the MLC Centre,” Harry Seidler and Associates director Penelope Seidler said.
“The integrity of Harry’s original architecture is to be re-established and contrasted with new geometries of internally illuminated glass. The MLC Centre will become the glowing core of the centre of Sydney.”
The A-grade centre comprises 66,829sq m of office space, 10,600sq m of retail space, a theatre, and 308 car spaces.
It continues to occupy one of the largest freehold sites in the Sydney CBD achieving an annualised return of more than 20 per cent per annum over the past three years.
MLC Centre is now fully owned by Dexus and Dexus Wholesale Property Fund. After following through on its pre-emptive right to purchase GPT's stake, Dexus purchased a 50 per cent stake in the building in 2017 from QIC for $722 million, on a 4.5 per cent yield.
After three years with its curtains drawn, Sydney's 1,100-seat Theatre Royal will finally be also reopened as part of the redevelopment.
The theatre space, part of the MLC Centre, has been closed since mid-2016 as owners Dexus and GPT deliberated on the best outcome for the building.
“We value the contribution from the NSW State Government to assist in reopening the theatre which will improve the amenity in the precinct and add to Sydney’s night time economy,” Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg said.
The MLC Centre will directly benefit from the new Martin Place Metro Station, due for completion in 2024.