Two of Sydney’s most iconic heritage icons which are up for sale by the NSW government have elicited strong interest from foreign investors in the hotel and tourism industries.
The Department of Education building and the Department of Land building, both of which are heritage-listed properties located on Bridge Street in the Sydney CBD, are currently being marketed by the NSW government to the members of the hotel and tourism industries both at home and abroad.
According to Minister of Finance and Services Andrew Constance local investors as well as overseas players in Asia, Europe and the United States have shown strong interest in the properties. A total of 35 companies and consortiums are participating in the Registrations of Interest phase, which is the preliminary sales phase during which aspiring buyers prepare for the Expressions of Interest phase.
Constance said that he expected the sale of the properties to be "strongly contested," with potential buyers hailing from Hong Kong, France, India, Singapore, the UAE, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The government is now assessing industry submissions, with a formal disposal campaign set to commence later in the year.
The sandstone buildings up for sale are two of the most distinguished and historically significant properties in the city's downtown area.
The NSW Education Building occupies an entire city block circumscribed by Bridge, Loftus, Bent and Young Streets and Farrer Place. It was built towards the end of the 19th century, and owes its Edwardian Baroque style to NSW Government Architect George McRae, who was responsible for the design of numerous other Sydney landmarks including the Queen Victoria Building and Taronga Zoo.
The nearby Department of Lands building is also situated on Bridge Street and of a similar vintage. The three story building was designed by James Barnet in a Renaissance Revival Style, and was built from Pyrmont sandstone during the 1880's.
The sale of the two historic buildings on Bridge Street is part of a concerted effort by the current NSW government to divest itself of non-essential properties, retaining only those strategic assets which support core government services.
It follows on the sale of seven state-owned buildings in Sydney and regional NSW last year to Brisbane-based fund manager Cromwell. The consideration of more than $400 million paid by Cromwell for the properties surpassed initial price estimates by $100 million.