gurner acquires barangaroo site for an 800 million dollar development
Gurner has acquired a site near Barangaroo for a 34 storey development. Image: Supplied.
  • The site is currently home to a 1960s commercial office tower.
  • Planning approvals for a residential development were recently granted.
  • Will become a 34 storey, two-tower landmark.

Property developer, GURNER, has announced the acquisition of 189 Kent Street, located on the doorstep of Barangaroo and Sydney Harbour.

The address is set to become an $800 million, 34-storey, two-tower, ultra-luxury project.

“Kent Street represents one of the most prestigious development sites in Sydney; from the moment we were introduced to the site we knew we had to acquire it and do something very special in a market that is crying out for ultra-luxury stock,” said GURNER CEO, Tim Gurner.

The Kent Street acquisition represents the first seed site to have capital deployed within the developer’s $2 billion Build-to-Sell (BTS) development fund, which is backed by a global institutional investor.

The acquisition forms part of GURNER’s larger strategy, which is expanding its significant $10 billion national pipeline of both build-to-sell and build-to-rent assets across Australia.

Planning approvals granted

The 1,195 square metre (sqm) site is currently occupied by a 1960s built commercial office, with current tenancies in place that GURNER will hold until completion of leases.

The site has recently been granted planning approval for residential development after a lengthy approval process by the site’s vendor Barana Group, who has held the asset since 2002.

The approval is for two towers, ground-floor retail, restaurants and bars, a health and wellness component, and basement car parking. GURNER said it will seek small amendments to the approval to reduce the number of apartments and increase the amenity provisions.

artists rendering of gurner development at 189 kent st sydney
An artist’s rendering of the Gurner development at 189 Kent Street, Sydney. Image: Supplied.

This is the second transaction GURNER and Barana Group have completed together after GURNER first partnered with Barana Group in 2018 to develop St Kilda’s former Novotel site into Saint Moritz.

The Kent Street transaction by comparison represents a direct acquisition by GURNER, which will not be developed in a joint venture like Saint Moritz.

“It’s quite the coincidence that we partnered with Barana Group in Melbourne to deliver Saint Moritz and now five years later transacting on another landmark site with the intention to deliver something of a similar luxury scale,” said Gurner.

“I’ve come to know Greg exceptionally well throughout the Saint Moritz journey and I know he is proud of the pipeline he has built and in particular the successful planning approvals achieved at Kent Street so he wouldn’t entrust this site with just anyone.”

A strong opportunity

Gurner said the company took a conservative view towards pricing and feasibility and feels “supremely confident” about the fundamentals of the site and its success.

“We have been watching the market very carefully for 18-24 months waiting for the right time to utilise the capital we have at our disposal, waiting for great opportunities knowing we can act quickly for the right sites, with a particular eye on Sydney and Melbourne,” said Gurner.

“We also know there are different factors at play in Sydney – lack of affordability, scarcity of quality product and depth of the luxury market – that make it far more capable of withstanding the current economic headwinds, so it’s for this reason that we are very confident in the Sydney market and remain bullish on residential property in this blue chip city.”

Simon Adams and Tim Gurner
Left to right: Simon Adams and Tim Gurner. Image: Supplied.

He added that while other states struggled with construction and labour costs, Sydney’s higher price-per-square-metre average, motivated buyer pool, and sought-after postcodes were all votes of confidence for the city and the development.

“Sydney is a very unique market with an incredibly low amount of supply and an even smaller opportunity to acquire great sites with harbour views, it is even rarer to be able to transact on a site that also has planning approval ready to go.”

FJC Studio has been appointed as the architect. The deal was brokered by CBRE‘s Justin Brown, Tim Rees, and Ben Wicks.

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