Chinese-backed developer Yuhu Group Australia has settled on the Bakehouse Quarter precinct in Sydney’s Strathfield, two years after first entering talks with listed fund BlackWall to acquire the six-hectare site.
Yuhu finalised the $380 million acquisition last week. The commercial precinct, on the redeveloped former factory site of biscuit maker Arnott’s, was bought from listed property group BlackWall.
Founded by Chinese billionaire and political donor Huang Xiangmo, Yuhu Group is developing some of Australia’s biggest projects including the multi-billion-dollar One Circular Quay in Sydney and triple-tower Jewel on the Gold Coast.
Huang was recently banned from his adopted country by the Morrison government for reported Chinese Communist Party ties. He came into notoriety after paying $5,000 to former federal senator Sam Dastyari to cover his legal bills.
The Morrison government stripped Huang of his permanent residency after he attempted to return to the country in December.
Huang Xiangmo’s son Jimmy Huang has taken over as Yuhu Group Australia’s chairman.
Huang said the acquisition of the Bakehouse Quarter was in line with the company’s long term strategy of identifying and investing in assets with well-established income streams.
Strathfield, in Sydney’s inner west, is set to benefit from improved rail and road infrastructure and sits in a catchment area with higher-than-average growth.
The commercial and retail precinct houses 70 tenancies including an Aldi supermarket, Fitness First and co-working Wotso workspace.
“The hundred-year-old site together with its iconic architecture and relaxing ambience creates this incredible blend of rich history and culture,” Huang said.
“Millions of us grew up with Arnott’s biscuits, and the emotional attachment associated with the precinct will carry on in the fabric of the area.
“With further support from the well-established modern-day transportation infrastructure and precinct facilities, the unique Bakehouse Quarter will go on to sew new memories for local families and beyond.”
Yuhu Group exercised its call option on the site after receiving FIRB approval. The developer made a series of payments totalling $58 million which will be deducted from the $380 million purchase price.
Yuhu said its investment to date in the site has totalled more than $420 million.