Early Light, Zone Q move on Sydney properties

Early Light, Zone Q move on Sydney properties

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:00

The Northpoint Tower complex was recently subject to a $130 million refurbishment program. Photo: Knight Frank

Hong Kong billionaire Francis Choi has made his third Sydney acquisition in just over a year, while China-backed developer Zone Q has broken ground on a residential project it expects to set new benchmarks for luxury.

Dr Choi’s Early Night International – the world’s largest toy manufacturer – beefed up its investment portfolio this week, with the $300 million acquisition of a half stake in Sydney’s Northpoint Tower.

Commercial real estate agency Knight Frank said Early Light bought the 50-per cent share in the Northpoint complex, which comprises a 32-level office building, a newly constructed retail podium and a 187-room VIBE Hotel, from South Africa’s Redefine Properties.

The deal was brokered off-market by Knight Frank’s Tyler Albot and Dominic Ong.

Cromwell Property Group will retain the remaining 50 per cent stake in the asset, which was recently refurbished at a cost of $130 million, and will partner with Early Light on the property’s management.

Mr Talbot said the deal cemented the strength of the North Sydney commercial property market.

“North Sydney is a tight market and we expect it will continue to experience strong growth as it is set to further benefit from the completion of 100 Mount Street and 1 Denison in 2019 and 2020 respectively,” Mr Talbot said.

Established by billionaire Francis Chois in 1972 Early Light International operates an expansive property investment division alongside its core toy manufacturing business, while it also has interests in medical and health services, hotels, education and retail.

The Northpoint acquisition is the third recent building purchase by Early Light in Sydney since midway through last year.

Its previous Sydney purchases were the 20,329 square metre Exchange Centre on Bridge Street, which it acquired in June last year for $335 million, and 1 Castlereagh Street, which it bought for $220 million in November 2017.

Meanwhile, China-backed developer Zone Q recently broke ground in its first residential project in Sydney, the $155 million Aqualuna, located in the prestige suburb of Milson’s Point.

Zone Q, the Australian division of China’s privately-owned property giant, JiaHe JianAn Group, expects the construction process for the 63-apartment, eight-storey boutique building to take around 24 months.

JiaHe JianAn, which has built more than 7,000 apartments in Shenzhen over the last decade, established Zone Q in 2013.

Construction works at Aqualuna will be undertaken by Australian contracting group Ceerose.

Zone Q project manager Andrew Wilson said Zone Q had recently grown its development pipeline to $200 million and its Australian asset base to more than $500 million with a series of office acquisitions in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

The company’s first Australian project, the $100 million Pinnacle apartment development in South Perth, was completed early last year.

Mr Wilkinson said Zone Q had sought to set a new benchmark for luxury in Sydney’s residential market with Aqualuna, which was designed by internationally-renowned architect Koichi Takada.

“It’s a very strategic location for us as an entry to the Eastern Seaboard residential market and offers us the perfect platform to debut the kind of quality product Zone Q is becoming known for,” Mr Wilkinson said.

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Zone Q's Aqualuna achieved 70 per cent pre-sales in its first three weeks on the market. Image: Zone Q