Ross Greenwood speaks to Lang Walker, Chairman and Founder of the Walker Corporation, about the start of construction of the $2.4 billion Parramatta Square development – as it transitions into Sydney’s second CBD
Introduction: Will Sydney have a second CBD?
Ross Greenwood: Welcome back to money news right around Australia. If we get back over the past few decades of property development in Australia, there is no doubt that one name will stand out and that is the name of Lang walker. Walker corporation is an Australian based privately owned property development company, it’s Lang Walker self. But also has a significant international development portfolio. Now, just think about some of the things that Walker Corporation has built over the years, the King Street Wharf, massive in Sydney, the Finger Wharf which is the Woollomooloo Wharf.
You got the Kingsley’s, all those great restaurants down there, the Broadway shopping center, the Rhodes Waterside shopping center in Sydney. Then on top of that, that there is a massive development, two and a half billion dollars in Melbourne. the Collins Square Project. You want to get a Brisbane? Well, you can certainly get Citiswich Park, a business park in Queensland. You can go to 150 Charlotte Street there. You go to go in in Sydney again 66 Hunter Street.
Right now, Lang Walker and Walker a corporation have broken ground to create, basically,, Sydney’s second CBD. Now, everybody for years has talked about Parramatta which is in the west of Sydney. Which is the center of population in Sydney becoming a Second City. It’s got the transport links, it’s got the rail links, it’s got the apartment living, it’s got all of that. It’s also got government departments in and out and it really is one of the original places of settlement right right through Australia.
Well today, Walker a corporation broke ground at the new Parramatta square. Two point four billion dollars and it will become ultimately Sydney’s second CBD. Four tower, two hundred and fifty thousand square meters of high grade office space, retail, restaurants, bars, cafes, and open space around the place as well. I tell you what, with great pleasure that we have Lang Walker, Walker Corporation, Founder and Chairman, on the line right now. Many thanks to your time, Lang.
Interview with: Lang Walker, Chairman and Founder, Walker Corporation
Lang Walker: Thanks Ross.
Ross Greenwood: Just tell me, this Parramatta Square, what does it mean for Sydney? What does it mean for Australia?
Lang Walker: As of today, it’s the largest commercial project in Australia, it costing two point eight billion and two point four and it’s really forging ahead Sidney’s second CBD. It’s fronting the Parramatta Square which is a massive Square that’s wider than pit straight. Sorry, not pit straight. The mall in Sydney, Martin Price. That links up with the the Church Street Mall with all the historic church and and the like in Parramatta.
It comprises four of towers, the first tower which we break ground on today, was 62,000 meters. That’s close to the New South Wales Government and the second tower which will be commencing in about probably three months time. That’s probably less than pretty committed to the NAB. I guess looking at asking answering your question in relation to what is it mean to Sydney, it’s probably what is it mean for western Sydney.
The Western Sydney area now, there’s a population over two million people out there, with the airport and the infrastructure the upgrades to to heavy rails and also as the the introduction of lot rail on the other side of the project. I guess the massive infrastructure with the government is spending in New South Wales in Sydney, currently, it’s just going to transform that whole Parramatta area.
Ross Greenwood: From your point of view, personally, the passion for doing something such as this, as a property development per aside, the risks involved in the planning you have had to do, what sort of a project has it been?
Lang Walker: Welfare Parramatta, I had a corrective designed project about 15, 20 years ago when the council had it up where to tender and expressions of interest.
It become to difficult. There was to much political involvement from everyone and I don’t think Parramata was really, ready for it then. But as of today, it’s about probably two to three years ago, I started taking here a very, very keen interest in Parramatta again. Because it’s being considered by many as a back water. It will never be any good.
That ingredients was very — that formula has worked very well for our company, for the last 40, 50 years. Where we’ve taken our breaking assets, dilapidated area for government prices and transform them into a really, very, very modern. Some of the buildings have had heritage components such as the Finger Wharf Broadway. You had a look at the roads beneath it too, when we tackled that. I don’t think anyone, In this strategy would’ve tackled that.
It was probably the most, heavily contaminated. Parramatta, then forgotten. I guess, I adjusted in down in about three years ago and it has become more exciting every time we fiddle with the growing prove it. The council, originally, had plans for residential on one of the towers and I think the way the market is doing — we’re going to have that chance to the last out.
Trying to commercial because if where going to have a proper CBD for Western Sydney, it really does need to have a commercial goal. I guess the other thing that’s interesting, the vacancy rates in the commercial, first of all, was not A-grade. Serious A-grade building out there, that being developed. Vacancy rates are the lowest in around the staggering Parramata. The demand is quite significant. I guess the big thing is, we’re producing style buildings in Parramatta. The rents are half of what you’re going to be paying in the CDB.
Ross Greenwood: That is going to be the greater attraction for the people as well. I’ll tell you what, Lang, I got to keep my self moving. I was going to ask you about your old man and what do you think about all this because he would have been very, very proud, I know. Even the earth moving business so and fourth, around that part of the world, originally. But it’s great to have you on the program. We’ll get you on in the future mate. Maybe we can talk about federal politics at some stage. Lang, that would be a good thing to have you on that, I’m sure.
Lang Walker: Would they, wouldn’t it?
Ross Greenwood: We’ll do it in the future. Lang walker as I say, the Founder and Chairman of Walker Corporation and creating the second CBD. Ground breaking today on potentially, four but maybe even as many eight towers up there. Get that, it’s a massive project.
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