ESR-GIC JV Buys Sydney Industrial Plant to Develop $301M Logistics Project
ESR has acquired a manufacturing plant in Sydney’s Botany Bay area on behalf of a joint venture with Singapore’s GIC, with the partners planning to invest at least A$443 million ($301 million) to develop a multi-storey logistics facility on the site, according to a statement by the company this week.
The APAC shed specialist together with the Singaporean sovereign fund paid A$143 million to pick up the Allnex coatings factory in Banksmeadow from the German manufacturer, providing their ESR Australia Partnership (EADP) II vehicle with a 48,000 square metre (516,670 square foot) site, with the deal allowing for the facility to be leased back to the seller for the next five years.
“ESR Australia is pleased to secure an infill site of this scale in the highly sought after Botany Bay Precinct. The strong demand for space within the precinct and site’s planning overlay will enable us to explore multi-level warehousing on the site,” said ESR Australia chief executive Phil Pearce.
Once Allnex has moved on, ESR and GIC plan to invest a further A$300 million to redevelop the asset into a two-storey logistics facility, with the deal boosting the value of the company’s Australian development pipeline to A$7.9 billion.
Staying Close to Port
Speaking with Mingtiandi on Thursday, Pearce said the partnership had recently closed on its acquisition of the property at a yield of 5 percent, with plans to develop a 58,000 square metre warehouse on the Allnex site.
Pearce said the site at 49 Stephen Road in Banksmeadow offers good connectivity for logistics companies with Port Botany, the second biggest container port in the country, located within 10 minutes’ drive away, while Sydney Airport is around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to the east.
Allnex decided to sell the 60-year old facility, which it currently uses as a manufacturing plant and regional head office, following a strategic review of its regional operations.
Earlier this week, the Frankfurt-based resins maker announced that it is shutting down its production site in Penrose, New Zealand in the fourth quarter of 2024, as well as its operations in Botany once the lease expires in 2028. Back home, the firm is also ceasing its operations in Hamburg, Germany, around June of next year.
“Allnex recognises the shifts within the Australian surface coatings market, both geographically and technologically, and is proactively taking measures to ensure the continuity of our operations,” Zel Medak, the firm’s vice president for commercial Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, said on Wednesday. “We are pleased to reach an agreement with ESR to ensure minimal disruption and to continue to provide our customers with high-quality and innovative products.”
Ramping Up Down Under
ESR said the Botany Bay site is one of the few large industrial plots still available in southern Sydney, which is growing in importance as a logistics hub.
“South Sydney is becoming more and more built out, and the residential (area) down there is a key location for logistics companies so that’s quite an opportunity there,” Pearce said.
Hitting a A$540 million first closing for its EADP II venture last October gave the warehousing giant firepower for its latest acquisition. The fund was a follow up to the A$1 billion EADP I it launched with GIC in 2020, with both partnerships focused on developing premium, sustainable industrial estates across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Botany Bay buy comes just six weeks after ESR announced a A$420 million joint venture with local logistics provider Toll Group to build a new distribution centre at the Westlink Industry Park near Sydney under a separate tie-up with GIC.
In that venture under its ESR Australia Logistics Partnership II core-plus strategy with GIC, ESR is building a 68,000 square metre distribution centre that will be leased to Melbourne-based Toll for 10 years following its completion in 2024.
ESR is expanding its Sydney pipeline as average rents for top grade industrial assets around the city continued to climb in the first quarter after vacancy rates plummeted to a record low of 0.2 percent in the second half of last year, according to CBRE.
Super-prime sheds saw average rents surge by 5.9 percent in the first quarter from the three months prior, and a sharper 37.2 percent jump year on year, according to the agency.
In South Sydney, rates for high-end properties rose 2.4 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months, with average net face rents settling at A$315 per square metre – the highest in the city.