Property Biz Canada

Manulife buys its first Australian office building, in Melbourne

Manulife Real Estate (MFC-T) has made its first foray into the Australian commercial real estate market, buying the 14-storey, class-A 800 Collins Street office tower in Melbourne.

Manulife has purchased its first Australian commercial real estate property, this office/retail tower at 800 Collins St., in Melbourne.

Manulife has purchased its first Australian commercial real estate property, this office/retail tower at 800 Collins St., in Melbourne. (Google Street View image)

The 317,335-square-foot building was constructed in 2010 and is fully leased. Located in the Docklands Central Business District (CBD), an extension of the Melbourne CBD, 800 Collins Street offers direct access to public transportation and close proximity to convenient eateries and retail amenities.

“Collins Street is the most prestigious commercial address in Melbourne,” Kenny Lam, Manulife’s managing director, head of Asia real estate investments, said in a statement announcing the sale. “The desirability of Collins Street as a commercial hub is highlighted by the quality and diversity of tenants and the movement of organizations into the area.”

The building consists of ground-floor retail, three levels of parking and 10 levels of office space. Retail giant Myer is listed as the major tenant, while Latitude Financial Services recently signed a 10-year lease in the building.

JLL Victoria Sales & Investments and Savills Australia Capital Transactions were marketing the asset, according to a report on the Savills website. It went onto the market in October 2017.

Melbourne office market highly rated

“The Melbourne office market is rated by JLL in the top two best performing office destinations in the world making Melbourne office assets very attractive in comparison to other office markets,” said Langton McHarg, head of sales and investments at JLL, in the Savills report. 

“Over the last two years, Melbourne has continued to increase its relevance on the global investment stage and is forecast to become Australia’s largest city by 2030. It is experiencing a phase of extraordinary positivity due to its strong economy, infrastructure and culture that is extending across all of its property markets.”

The city has an overall inventory of about 48 million square feet of office space, according to Savills.


The investment in Australia is part of Manulife Real Estate’s pan-Asian core real estate investment strategy created to support Manulife’s rapid growth in Asia.   

Australia’s economy is enjoying its 26th year of consecutive annual economic growth and Melbourne is one of its top two cities in economic size and depth and breadth of the commercial real estate market,” Kevin Adolphe, president and CEO of Manulife Real Estate, said in the statement.

“This acquisition enables us to gain key exposure in the city as we diversify our real estate portfolio and represents a significant milestone as we execute our global real estate strategy.”

Manulife’s global real estate investment portfolio includes more than 62 million square feet of office, industrial and select retail and residential properties across AsiaAustraliaCanada and the United States.  

About Manulife Real Estate

Manulife Real Estate is the global real estate arm of Manulife, operating as John Hancock Real Estate in the U.S. and Manulife Real Estate in all other parts of the world. Manulife Real Estate has 80 years of experience as an active investor, owner, developer and asset manager of commercial real estate.

Diversified by both geography and asset type, the portfolio consists primarily of prime office and industrial properties, as well as select retail and multi-family residential properties, in key metropolitan centres throughout AsiaAustraliaCanada and the United States.

As at Sept. 30, 2017, the Manulife Real Estate portfolio totaled more than 62 million square feet with AUM market value of Cdn$21.3 billion (US$17.1.6 billion). Additional information about Manulife Real Estate can be found at

Manulife Financial Corporation operates primarily as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere. It provides financial advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions.

At the end of 2016, Manulife had approximately 35,000 employees, 70,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving more than 22 million customers. As of Sept. 30, 2017, the firm had more than $1 trillion (US$806 billion) in assets under management and administration.

Principal operations are in AsiaCanada and the United States. Manulife’s global headquarters are in Toronto, and the company trades as ‘MFC’ on the TorontoNew York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.


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Don Wilcox

About the Author ()

Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s Sr. Online Editor. Don has also been a part-time professor at Algonquin College, teaching digital writing and social media in the Mobile and Social Media Management program.

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