Charter Hall Finalises Southern Cross Office Deal

Charter Hall Group has confirmed that the Charter Hall Prime Office Fund has acquired 50 per cent of the landmark Southern Cross Towers precinct in the prestigious “Paris End” of Melbourne’s CBD, from Brookfield and Blackstone.

Press speculation earlier this year suggested that Charter Hall would launch a joint bid alongside Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC to acquire the stake for more than $2 billion. However, after GIC walked away from the deal, Charter Hall have elected to proceed with the purchase alone.

Located in the city’s tightly held eastern core at 111-121 Exhibition Street, Southern Cross Towers occupy a prominent corner position with frontages to Exhibition, Little Collins and Bourke streets.

Southern Cross East and West Towers offer a combined 126,000m² of high-quality office space with large 2,000-3,000m² typical floor plates. Both towers are 100 per cent leased to resilient government and corporate tenants and provide excellent access to transport, entertainment and sport precincts.

The East Tower offers almost 80,000m² across 37-storeys, tenanted by the Victorian Government with a WALE of six years. The 20-storey West Tower comprises 45,000m² of net lettable area, anchored by one of Charter Hall’s largest cross-sector tenant customers, Australia Post.

In 2025, Australia Post will relocate to 480 Swan Street, Richmond — CPOF and VFMC’s 33,000m² office tower development— with a 10-year precommitment lease. This will provide a new leasing opportunity for the West Tower and the ability to reposition to add value.

The deal reflects a very sharp cap rate of 4.5% which will require strong rental growth to offset any future softening of yields as interest rate hikes changes investors pricing models.

Charter Hall Managing Director & Group CEO, David Harrison, said, “The Southern Cross acquisition up-weights CPOF’s Melbourne CBD portfolio within the “Paris End”, enhancing our exposure to modern assets with government tenants, which have been two of the Group’s strategic thematics that we continue to favour.”

“We are pleased to advance our relationships with two existing tenant customers, the Victorian Government and Australia Post, as we grow our Melbourne office portfolio. The CPOF portfolio now comprises $9 billion of our $25 billion office platform, and we are proud of CPOF’s leading position, commanding the highest performance ranking in the MSCI wholesale office index over all time periods from one to ten years.”

Brookfield Managing Partner and Head of Australian Real Estate, Sophie Fallman, said, “This transaction demonstrates the quality of Southern Cross East and West and the strength in the Melbourne office market. Premium, well positioned workplaces remain in high demand from tenants, retailers and investors alike. Since developing the assets, Brookfield has added significant value to Southern Cross Towers, including the recent seven-year lease with the Victorian Government and upgrades to the East tower.

“We are pleased to now welcome Charter Hall to the precinct and pursue further enhancements, together,” said Ms Fallman.

Southern Cross Towers offer excellent natural light, expansive views and strong ESG credentials, including a minimum of 5 star NABERS ratings on Energy, Water and Green Star ‘as-built’.

Charter Hall Office CEO Carmel Hourigan said: “The acquisition of Southern Cross Towers demonstrates the success of Charter Hall’s strategy — to expand our office footprint and offer best-in-class workplaces experiences.”

“With a site area of almost 9,000m², the scale of the Southern Cross precinct complements CPOF’s portfolio of other large-scale assets including the Wesley precinct and 555 Collins Street in Melbourne CBD, together with Sydney’s iconic Chifley Square.

“We will work with Brookfield to re-lease the West Tower upon relocation of Australia Post in 2025 and look to further enhance the amenity offered by the complex,” said Ms Hourigan.

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