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9 Hunter Street

Investment

9 Hunter Street is a good quality, multi-let, B-grade building located in the heart of the Sydney CBD near the corner of George and Hunter Street. RF Corval acquired the property for the Value Active Fund, a club of Australian institutional investors, in 2012 for $72.26m. At the time of acquisition, the property was 91% occupied with a further floor due to become vacant shortly after acquisition. The property presented very poorly, with a particularly unappealing ground floor lobby, which undermined the quality of the on-floor space.

Strategy

RF Corval saw the opportunity to reposition the property through a targeted capital works program, focusing on a major refurbishment of the lobby, upgrading the chillers to improve energy efficiency and upgrading the lifts to reduce the extended wait times, which had been identified as a weakness at the time of acquisition. RF Corval also embarked on a pro-active leasing strategy, which included sub-dividing floors and offering creative spec fit-outs.

RF Corval’s capex strategy was successful to reposition the asset, with this building now considered A-grade in the market. The targeted capex has also resulted in improved energy efficiency, increasing the NABERS rating to 4.5 stars, up from 3.5 stars at the date of acquisition.

Outcome

As a result, rents increased by 25% from the time of acquisition and RF Corval secured a lease extension from an existing tenant on 20% of the space and attracted new tenants to the building on 30% of the space, taking the property to 100% occupancy.

Having successfully implemented the investment strategy, RF Corval marketed the property for sale and in December 2017 the asset was sold for $202 million, delivering a total return to its institutional investors significantly above the initial return target that had been set for this investment.