Historic Parramatta bank sells for $7.1 million

Historic Parramatta bank sells for $7.1 million
Historic Parramatta bank sells for $7.1 million

A historic Parramatta bank has sold for $7.1 million to a Hong Kong-based investor.

The landmark Westpac Bank site in Church Street was first taken up by Bank of NSW in 1874.

The imposing sandstone building on the site was built in 1938.

Agent Simon Staddon from Burgess Rawson Sydney says the sale is very strong given the nature of the lease.

“The price directly reflected the lease terms, which was to June 2015 plus option periods,” Staddon says.

“Investors can be nervous of option periods. That’s not to say the bank will move out, they probably won’t.

“If it was a new 10-year lease the yield would be a lot higher.”

The site is 100% leased to current tenant Westpac, which emerged from Bank of NSW in 1982.

The site earns a net income of $536,000 per annum plus GST. There are 2.5 years left on the lease with two five-year options.

“I’m of the opinion it was a very a good sale,” Staddon says.

The façade of the two-storey interwar stripped classical building is dominated by large ashlar sandstone columns, flanking timber four-panelled double doors.

Prior to and during its early life as a bank, the site was also operating as the Australian Arms Hotel.

After leasing for some years, the Bank of NSW acquired the two-storey inn, altered it and used it until 1938, when it was demolished and the current premises were built.

The land was originally granted to Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s superintendent of public works, Richard Rouse, in 1823. He built the Australian Arms Hotel in 1838.

The new building was designed by Spanish architectural firm Cosh and Dods, also responsible for Edwards Dunlop Building in Brisbane, Daily Telegraph Building in Sydney and St Brigid's Catholic Church at Red Hill.

The site now includes an adjacent three-storey modern building, bringing the total area to 1,275 square metres and includes on-site parking for up to nine cars.

Parramatta was established in 1788 and is the oldest inland European settlement in Australia.

The town was founded after the first fleet settlers built farms there to support the 1,000 convicts, soldiers and administrators. The site was the furthest navigable point on the Parramatta river, and the soil was deemed significantly better than that around Sydney Cove.

Growth in the area was minimal until the 1850s, when development was aided by the construction of a railway line. Then rapid expansion continued through the late 1800s, with Parramatta becoming a commercial hub for the western Sydney area.

Some of the most significant development in the city happened during the post-war years with industrial growth, immigration and the establishment of public housing estates.

The town is home to many of Australia's earliest colonial buildings, with more heritage-listed buildings in than Sydney's historic Rocks quarter.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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