Who are the Top Owners of Office Space Globally?

The world’s top owners of commercial real estate have been revealed in the National Real Estate Investor’s (NREI) annual list.

Well known multinationals lead the list as NREI's annual findings reveals the globe’s leading office space giants.

Rankings for the top office owners are based on the volume of office space owned globally as at 31 December 2017.

Of the top ten, six companies have an Australian presence.

RankCompanyOwned (sq ft)
1Blackstone Group230,000,000
2Brookfield Properties153,000,000
4Boston Properties44,100,000
5CBRE Global Investors37,556,000
7TH Real Estate32,486,309
8SL Green28,314,670
9Highwoods Properties26,801,000
10Ivanhoe Cambridge25,178,858

Blackstone Group (1)

The Blackstone retail portfolio includes Top Ryde City in Sydney, Melbourne’s Greensborough Plaza along with Westfield malls, which it bought from Scentre Group being Warrawong, Strathpine and Figtree.

Taking out the top spot is global private equity giant Blackstone Group with 230 million square feet of global office space and $300 billion of assets under management.

The private equity and property giant increased its exposure with the $126 million acquisition of four industrial assets from two Charter Hall funds last year.

In 2017, Blackstone was a net buyer of Australian industrial assets, with a focus on Victoria, and a net seller of retail assets with the sale of their remaining retail portfolio yet to be finalised.

Blackstone has indicated that it will carve up $3 billion-plus retail property holdings in Australia.

followed plans to divest their Australian based 11-strong retail property portfolio said to reap more than $4 billion.

For Blackstone, the four assets will boost its Australian industrial presence, an area of growth thanks to the rise in e-commerce.

Sole owner of Top Ryde City, Blackstone snapped up the Sydney shopping centre out of receivership in 2012 for a rock-bottom $341 million price (the vendor had hoped to sell for $1 billion). In the New York-based firm’s classic strategy of “buy it, fix it, sell it” the group dramatically improved the shopping centre’s performance.

Blackstone’s 50 per cent share in Sydney’s Westpac office headquarters (275 Kent Street) is up for grabs. Purchased for $435 million in 2014 the 77,000-square metre office space is now estimated to be valued at more than $800 million.

Not bad for a four-year investment.

Related reading: Blackstone takes on $1.1 Billion Property Portfolio

Brookfield Properties (2)

Brookfield Place Tower 2, Perth, Australia by Brookfield Property Partners.
Brookfield Place 1

Australian assets include Perth’s Brookfield Place, developed by Brookfield properties in 2015 for an estimated $500 million. The tower is Perth’s second tallest building at 45-storeys and is leased to major tenant BHP. The precinct comprises 120,000 square metres.

A new one-billion-dollar office tower will call Darling Harbour home. Designs for the mixed-use site have been revised after the original concept proposal drew criticism from the City of Sydney about its height.

Brookfield will be part owner with GPT Wholesale Office Fund and AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund, the concept proposal shows the tower up to 235 metres in height and offers 12,000 square metres of public domain space with a maximum area of 85,000 square metres for commercial development.

The global asset manager has more than $285 billion in assets under management (AUM).


825 Ann Street, formally a Ford dealership, was sold for $124.67 million to the  US-based real estate brokerage firm, Hines Global REIT
825 Ann Street, formally a Ford dealership, was sold for $124.67 million to the US-based real estate brokerage firm, Hines Global REIT

Global real estate investment and development firm HINES’ Australian-based assets include office towers across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane after establishing a local presence in 2012.

Hines’ $152.5 million Bourke Street Melbourne building constructed by Lendlease offers 23, 000 square metres of office and retail.

Their Brisbane presence includes the 11-storey tower located at 825 Ann Street in the CBD. Purchased in 2013 for $128 million, the building comprises 19,000 square metres of office space.

Founded in 1957, Hines global footprint spans 201 cities in 24 countries with $142 billion in assets under management.

The company says Australia has yielded over $500 million in acquisition opportunities.

CBRE Global Investors (5)

CBRE Global Investors said that all four freehold assets are located in metropolitan areas on arterial roads.

Four Bunnings Warehouses are included in CBRE’s Pacific (Australia and New Zealand) global footprint. With a total of 54,000 square metres of lettable area, two of the hardware stores are located in Sydney, one in Adelaide and one in Auckland. CBRE secured the transaction worth $180 million, in late 2017, with yields struck in the five per cent range.

Almost all of the business and assets, spanning 185 square metres of property, of Race Property are owned by the firm.

Claiming fifth place on the 2018 Top Office Owners global market study, CBRE Global Investors has more than $130 billion in global assets under management.

Related reading: Australia's Top Buyers and Sellers for 2017

TH Real Estate (7)

Myer Bourke Street Redevelopment by NH Architecture.
Myer Bourke Street

In seventh spot, TH Real Estate’s Australian assets include Melbourne’s nine-storey Bourke Street Myer building. TH paid $151 million for a 33 per cent share of the retail space in 2016. The asset is the department store chain’s leading flagship location and sits just under 40,000 square metres.

Sydney’s 16-level A-grade Hunter Street tower marked the American giant’s first Australian purchase for $100 million in 2013. TH Real Estate secured a 50 per cent interest in North Sydney’s 101 Miller Street the following year. The asset offers 46,000 square metres comprising 27 levels of office accommodation.

The same year TH Real Estate acquired a 50 per cent stake in Melbourne’s 699 Bourke Street for $74.5 million, while the property was still under construction. This month the global fund manager sold its interest to Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, while Mirvac owns the remaining 50 per cent.

TH Real Estate, an affiliate of Nuveen, is one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world with $109 billion in AUM as of 31 December 2017. Nuveen currently manages more than $970 billion in assets for investors.

Related reading: TH Real Estate Eyes Debt Strategy and Build-to-Rent in Australia

Ivanhoe Cambridge (10)

Liberty Place, designed by FJMT.
Liberty Place

Rounding out tenth spot on NREI’s top global office owners is Canadian fund manager Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Sydney’s Liberty Place was the first direct Australian investment for Canadian real estate fund manager Ivanhoe Cambridge. The 42-storey office tower features 60,176 square metres of office space and 4,425 square metres of retail area.

Liberty Place, the only Australian property asset for Ivanhoe Cambridge was awarded the 2015 International Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre of Architecture Art Design in recognition of its design, construction and sustainability.

The Canadian group teamed up with Blackstone Property Partners to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the office tower for $240 million.

Ivanhoé Cambridge held more than $60 billion in assets as of December 2017.

All dollars are converted to Australian dollars.

View the full rankings for the top office owners here.

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