The upgrade of Sydney’s Circular Quay ferry wharves is a step closer after the NSW Government today announced the sale of the rights to the ground lease rental income at Darling Quarter for 30 years, for an upfront payment of $192 million.
It is the first sale following last year’s announcement that certain non-core commercial assets formerly held by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) would be considered for divestment, with $200 million to be reserved to redevelop the Circular Quay wharves.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said millions of locals and tourists who visit Circular Quay and use the ferry wharves deserve a world-class experience, and the Government’s asset management strategy is making that possible.
“We are working hard to make our assets work for the people of NSW, and this first transaction is a huge win for our iconic harbour and the millions of people who flock to Circular Quay every year,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The ferry wharves are long overdue for a facelift, and now we have secured almost the full $200 million we promised to make them shine again.”
Early preliminary work on the proposed Circular Quay upgrade is underway, with consultation beginning in 2017, ahead of construction expected to commence in 2019.
The Darling Quarter transaction follows a competitive worldwide tender process undertaken by Macquarie Capital, which included strong interest from domestic and international financial institutions, with UK-based life insurer, Rothesay, chosen as the successful bidder. The outcome has been approved and endorsed by NSW Treasury.
At the completion of the 30-year agreement period, rights to the Darling Quarter ground lease rental income will revert back to the Government, with the Government retaining the freehold title over Darling Quarter, and Lend Lease Funds Management retaining its 99-year leasehold interest, which expires in 2110.
The transaction will not change the Government’s management of the public domain in Darling Harbour.
A strategy for the potential divestment of other non-core assets formerly held by SHFA is being prepared by Property NSW for consideration by Government in 2017.