he Nine Network has sold its historic Willoughby headquarters in Sydney to a Hong Kong property investor for $147.5 million.
The Sydney north shore premises was bought by Euro Properties after being on the market for five months, with a concept plan for the development of up to 400 residential dwellings and two rows of terrace houses approved this year.
Commercial real estate group CBRE was appointed to manage the sale and agent Matthew Ramsay described the sale process as very competitive.
“We had about 17 formal EoIs (expressions of interest) submitted by the closing date and they were all above $100 million.”
Principal of north shore real estate agency Forsyth, James Snodgrass, said the three hectare property has been sold for an above-market price.
“They’ve got a ridiculously good price if it goes through at that number,” Mr Snodgrass said.
“This sale will probably be another market leader; another threshold in development sites and I think it says a lot about Willoughby and this part of the world.
“We didn’t know how far the Channel Nine tower would affect the sale and it appears not to have affected it at all.”
The network, which expects to pocket around $135 million from the sale, will remain at the site for up to five years.
The headquarters is an icon of Australia’s TV history, hosting the nation’s first television broadcast in 1956 where the late Bruce Gyngell uttered the words, “Good evening, and welcome to television”.
The company informed staff of the sale of the premises in March and now plans to relocate to a new home with state of the art facilities.
“The move from the birthplace of Australian free-to-air television is a significant milestone for Nine,” chief operating officer Simon Kelly said.
“Our relocation… will enable us to further optimise our operations as we evolve our business model in a digital world.”