Completion reached on North Sydney’s tallest tower

by Sophie Berrill
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88 Walker Street

The finishing touches have been placed on 88 Walker Street, North Sydney, with the $350-million, 50-storey mixed-use tower now taking the title of North Sydney’s tallest building.

Standing 180 metres above street level, 88 Walker Street features 19 levels dedicated to the new hotel Citadines Walker North Sydney and 24 levels of premium office space acquired by LaSalle Investment Management. The hotel and commercial facilities include a ground-floor café, a restaurant, executive lounge, hotel gym and three levels of end-of-trip tenant amenities such as 105 bicycle racks, lockers and showers.

88 Walker Street North Sydney

Standing 180 metres above street level, 88 Walker Street features 19 levels dedicated to the new hotel Citadines Walker North Sydney and 24 levels of premium office space.

Playing a part in a pedestrianised precinct

88 Walker Street connects with the surrounding network of lanes and through-site links to deliver a new activated public space, aligning with North Sydney Council’s vision to create a vibrant, pedestrianised precinct.

“88 Walker Street is a welcome addition to the North Sydney CBD,” says Mayor of North Sydney, Councillor Zoë Baker.

“This elegant building, which retains the heritage Firehouse Hotel, is part of a new social business district emerging in the revitalised North Sydney CBD. 88 Walker Street and the Citadines Hotel are part of a new wave of dynamic, diverse, connected businesses at the heart of a thriving micro-city in North Sydney that the Council has been planning for to coincide with the arrival of the Metro.” 

88 Walker Street’s design and materials

Developed by Billbergia and designed by fitzpatrick+partners, the newly completed high rise features a striking glass curtain façade and an innovative cantilever. It sits in “stark contrast” to the conventional and box-like forms of the older buildings that have characterised North Sydney, says fitzpatrick+partners architect Paul Reidy. 

“The building’s slender form is an iconic new landmark on the CBD skyline. It marks the dawn of a new era for North Sydney and puts it on the map as a flourishing precinct befitting of a global city,” Reidy says.

The signature cantilever enables the building to sit suspended above the heritage-listed pub, dramatically increasing the floor space from around 4000 square metres to an excess of 22,800 square metres.

Underpinning 88 Walker’s cantilevered structure is 20,000 cubic metres of concrete, 4000 tonnes of reinforcement, 425 tonnes of structural steel and a glazed curtain wall standing at 14,500 square metres.

88 Walker Street North Sydney

88 Walker Street retains the heritage Firehouse Hotel.

A rental record

88 Walker Street delivers 12,500 square metres of boutique commercial office space with an average, subdivisible floor plate size of 560 square metres. Its completion has come at a time when Australian office vacancy rates have dropped to their lowest levels since the 1990s, with Sydney sitting at 11.5 percent vacancy in August, according to the Property Council.

Some 20 percent of the office space in 88 Walker Street has been pre-leased by exclusive agents CBRE and Colliers International. While tenancy details remain confidential, LaSalle Investment Management’s head of asset management Matt Bailey says 88 Walker has achieved record-breaking rental rates in North Sydney’s commercial office sector.

“The office space is already 20 percent leased and has set a new rental record for North Sydney’s office sector, reflecting the appetite for premium boutique space,” says Bailey.

“The North Sydney office market has been driven by tenants relocating from fringe suburbs, with C-suite decision makers seeking new-generation assets in order to retain talent. Many are also seeking green credentials and ESG [environmental, social and governance] benefits.”

With many surrounding office floor plates exceeding 800 square metres, 88 Walker Street also appeals to larger companies that may be downsizing space requirements in response to the popularity of hybrid working styles.

NABERS and Green Star goals

88 Walker is targeting a 4.5-Star NABERS rating and a 5-Star Green Star rating. Sustainable features include a high-performance building façade, efficient HVAC systems and energy-efficient lighting systems, as well as optimal building management and control systems design, commissioning and operation.

According to a joint media release from the developers, architects and office and hotel owners, 88 Walker’s proximity to upcoming public transport infrastructure, as well as its provision of bicycle spaces in lieu of a car park, show a further commitment to reducing emissions.

Photography Tim Connolly.

See what’s on at Waste Expo Australia 2023.

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