BILLIONAIRE Harry Triguboff has his eye on sites in the NSW government’s multi-million-dollar asset sales program as his Meriton group ramps up its development book to about 2500 apartments a year.
Mr Triguboff, who built 1500 units in the past 12 months, said lower interest rates had spurred sales at his inner-Sydney developments, although Brisbane and the hard-hit Gold Coast markets had only just started to lift.
Meriton will bid on the NSW government’s sale of inner-Sydney rail corridor land, the historic sandstone-clad Department of Lands building in the centre of Sydney’s financial district, and land at Sydney’s Macquarie Park.
NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard called for expressions of interest last month for the renewal of the rail corridor between Central Station and Eveleigh, in the city’s inner west, potentially providing thousands of new homes in a string of apartment towers above the railway lines.
“We will bid on the rail sites, but it depends what fits into our 2500 apartments a year,” Mr Triguboff told The Australian.
Separately, NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance is selling the Department of Lands building, bounded by Bridge, Gresham and Bent streets, which could reap as much as $80 million for the government.
“You have to pick where there is the most capital gain. It (the Department of Lands Building) would be of interest if we were allowed to build on top,” Mr Triguboff said, with the building suited to Meriton’s serviced apartments arm.
The historic building has attracted the interest of several major international hotel groups ahead of the government calling for expressions of interest in it, the Department of Education building, the Macquarie Park site and Ausgrid House in Sydney’s George Street later this year.
The government reaped $405m from the sale of the first tranche of assets, including the McKell building in Sydney’s Chinatown to Queensland fund manager Cromwell Group earlier this year.
The $405m sale price was $105m above initial estimates and will be ploughed into housing infrastructure in Sydney’s west.
Meriton has quickly been able to increase the pace it builds after buying a rash of sites in the past year.
“The No 1 reason that I can build more, is that I can buy sites for 300 or 400 units,” Mr Triguboff said.
“Before, I had to amalgamate cottages to get a site.”
Meriton started its buying spree last year, spending more than $200m on six Sydney sites that have the capacity for the development of more than 2000 units, worth $1.3bn.
Source: The Australian