Cementing the city’s future as a prime office location
In April this year amid COVID-19 uncertainty, diversified fund manager GPT Group amalgamated a future development site on George Street in the heart of the Parramatta CBD for $75 million. The site covers nearly 3,000 square metres and the move comes off the back of other significant development purchases in recent times including the 2018 purchase of Eclipse Tower in Parramatta also by the GPT Group on behalf of super fund Rest for $277.6 million.
Over recent years Parramatta has become one of Australia’s most sought after office markets, beating out other big city centres. It’s all part of the transformation of Australia’s oldest inland city into Sydney’s Central River City.
In the coming two decades, it’s forecast an additional 420,000 people will move to the region between Parramatta and Sydney, and more than 300,000 jobs will be created in the corridor by 2036.
Parramatta’s commercial office market holds a prime A-grade vacancy rate of just 0.43. This level of demand for commercial office space is unprecedented. By 2022, Parramatta is expected to surpass North Sydney as the third-largest office market in Sydney, with 1 million square metres. Despite its increased popularity, Parramatta remains an affordable location, with the market rate of office space sitting at almost 50% that of the Eastern CBD.
GPT Group has joined other developers who are also backing the commercial precinct of Parramatta, banking on the market’s transformation continuing on the back of major infrastructure, education and health spending.
Central to the transformation of the area is Parramatta Square, a $2.8 billion project, which Walker Corporation broke ground on in 2017. The purpose-built project will be home to six new state-of-the-art buildings and a refurbished Town Hall. By 2022, it’s estimated the precinct will house almost 24,000 professional workers, reflecting the city’s growing ability to attract highly educated talent in knowledge-based industries. Over 70% of the commercial space is already leased with the rest expected to be leased by the time Parramatta Square is completed.
The Parramatta Square development is a great example of the low vacancy rates and high demand in Parramatta.
Property group Dexus has the approval to build a 33-storey office tower on George Street. Once finished, the Parramatta skyscraper will offer 45,800 square metres of A-Grade office space.
Also on George Street is the Octagon building. It changed hands in late 2019 and while it’s a modern A-Grade commercial building, the site on which it sits is significantly underdeveloped.
Several substantial residential developments will complement these commercial developments. Developer Dyldam is proposing a mixed-use site incorporating a 60-storey residential tower and 21,000 square metres of commercial space with communal gardens and a rooftop bar on the former Cumberland newspaper site on Macquarie Street.
Meriton is also investing heavily in Parramatta with approval for a residential tower and serviced apartments, that will incorporate retail space and a hotel which will no doubt accommodate visiting business executives.
The State Government is bringing infrastructure development to bolster the precinct's status as Sydney's Central River City. Current projects include Parramatta Light Rail, Metro West, and MAAS.
The proposed Sydney Metro West station was unveiled earlier this month showing the major impact Parramatta metro station will have on supporting Parramatta CBD as a major employment growth centre, boosting jobs and improving connections across Greater Sydney.
The office district of George Street will see improved links to transport with the Metro station a short walk away, and a light rail stop on the other side of the block on Macquarie Street.
These major infrastructure projects will be complemented by an upgrade of Charles Street Square creating a new public space around the recently upgraded ferry wharf. The new Escarpment Boardwalk currently under construction near the wharf and close to George Street provides walking and cycling links all the way to Putney which will be used by office workers during lunchtime breaks or for active commuting.
Additionally, Parramatta’s new Civic Link will be a vibrant linear park that connects and activates the City. The new 500-metre-long and 20-metre-wide green centre will be both a physical and symbolic connection between Parramatta Square and River Square, and enhance the commercial developments.
 Urban Developer Article - GPT Parramatta
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 Media Release - Parramatta retains number one with lowest office vacancy in NSW