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9/11: I saw the first plane hit


Fifteen years ago this weekend I was sitting at my desk in my loft a few blocks north of New York’s World Trade Center when I heard an almighty engine roar above my head and looked up to see a plane smash full throttle into one of the twin towers.

That first image – the cookie cutter impression the plane left as it entered the building, white paper and debris raining down like glitter – wasn’t captured front-on by cameras, but it’s seared in my brain forever.

How could I forget it? My neighbours poured into the street, confused. The cops were dazed, frozen. Groups of people massed on the side streets, running away from the towers, screaming.

Survival instinct made me leave our building before the south tower fell – I was half-way up to Fourteenth Street when I saw the debris billow up West Broadway. It was only when I reached a friend’s safe haven in Chelsea that I knew the tower had collapsed.

After 15 years, the turmoil set in motion by those attacks and the military and political reaction to those attacks forms a tragedy still being played out in many parts of the world. But New York bounced back, more expensive and exclusive than ever. There’s a shiny new Freedom Tower, magnificent reflective pools in the footprints of the two towers, and an astonishing new transport hub, the $US4billion Oculus, with its ribs of steel like an open pair of wings, making the site a compelling destination for tourists.

For me, the shock of the event and the heartbreak associated with it has worn off. The human heart is an amazing thing; it can heal itself if it is given time.

But mine still has a tender spot, which is why in trips to New York recently, I’ve been ambivalent about visiting the 9/11 museum that has been built in the bowels of the buildings.

Friends who shared my 9/11 experience call the reflective pools, which are such an emotional touchpoint for tourists, the ‘drains of doom.’ That gives you an idea of how raw the experience still is.

A couple of months ago, in New York for a few days, I finally gathered up enough courage to visit the museum. To be truthful, I was seeking a reaction, as I’d buried so much these past years.

The museum tells the story of the events of 9/11 through more than 11,000 artefacts, 40,000 images and oral histories told by families of victims, volunteers and survivors.

As you descend into the building, there are various galleries and, finally, the historic museum. The first galleries, which exhibit salvaged parts of the buildings, are quite majestic, if you can detach their content from the spectacular space. Objectively, the twisted lengths of steel and the smashed vehicles are as beautiful as an exhibition of the works of the great sculptors Richard Serra and John Chamberlain.

The slurry walls, which held back the Hudson River, have been left as they were, stripped and rough. It did feel very much like going into a tomb. I thought of the unknown man in the newsstand that once existed there, who illegally sold cigarettes to my 13 year-old daughter and her friends. Where is he now?

The museum itself contains a wealth of memorabilia for history buffs, such as a display featuring the terrorists and their backgrounds. I didn’t much care for that, thinking it inadvertently made icons of them, and I also didn’t care much for the sheer number of artefacts collected, room after room of them, including an entire shopfront covered in debris. I thought it made a fetish of it all and I was looking for the exit doors sooner than I expected.

I have my own memorabilia – a check that floated down from the towers onto my window box, the dress I wore on the day, a video I took of the second plane hitting. They’re in a box somewhere.

I understand it’s important for people to acknowledge the human cost of 9/11 and grieve. Those who directly lost their lives in New York and Washington D.C. are mourned generously here. It’s a poignant place, even if I have misgivings about it.

My personal reflection is about the aftermath, which is ongoing, in refugee camps and destroyed cities elsewhere. On other shores, hundreds of thousands of people died and many are still dying from 9/11’s consequences.

How will we mourn them?

ALP took more than $330K from banks, then called for royal commission into them

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten. Photo: Louie Douvis PM Malcolm Turnbull has described Labor’s policy as “bank bashing”. Photo: Sanghee Liu

The Labor party took more than $330,000 in donations from the big banks in the 2014-15 financial year, despite Opposition leader Bill Shorten running on a 2016 election platform calling for a royal commission into the banks, dubbed “bank bashing” by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Australian Electoral Commission data from the most recent disclosure period show the biggest bank donor to the ALP was ANZ, which gave $80,000, followed by the Macquarie Group which gave $72,400. The Commonwealth Bank gave $46,925, NAB donated $35,600 and Westpac gave $34,700. Other, smaller donations were given to the state divisions of the Labor party.

The monies went into the ALP’s coffers to fight the 2016 election, during which Shorten campaigned heavily on the central promise of cleaning up dodgy banking industry practices with a royal commission.

Recently he has pressured Coalition backbenchers to declare whether they support his royal commission, so voters can know “which side they are on”.

The policy has been carried over into the new parliamentary term, and Shorten’s first question to the Prime Minister when parliament resumed on August 30th was on the subject of Labor’s proposed royal commission into the banking and financial services sector.

The big banks also donated more than $600,000 to the Liberal party, at federal and state level.

The Coalition has steadfastly refused to support a royal commission into banking, arguing the sector is already well-regulated and a royal commission could undermine business confidence. Shorten says Turnbull is running a “protection racket” for the big banks.

Shorten called for the royal commission on April 8th this year, at a high-profile press conference flanked with members of his front bench including Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen.

Shorten said that public confidence in the banking and financial services industry had “taken hit after hit over the previous few years”, that retirees had lost their savings and Australian families had lost thousands of dollars through banking industry “scandals” and “rip-offs”.

The Opposition leader said the banking industry problems were long-standing and systemic and a royal commission was about “restoring confidence” in the system.

The shadow treasurer said a royal commission would cost $53 million and last two years.

In the 2014-15 financial year, the ALP also took money from the financial services industry, which is also in the sights of its proposed royal commission.

The ALP banked $21,500 from the Financial Services Council Limited, as well as another $11,100 to the party’s NSW branch.

The Financial Services Council also made a separate donation of $5000 to the federal division of Chifley, the seat of Labor frontbencher Ed Husic, and catered for two separate ALP lunches, at a cost of $2188 and $1718.

The Financial Services Council gave a total of $22,000 to the Liberal party at state and federal level.

Following the recent donations scandal involving Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, the Labor party has called for a reduction in the donations disclosure threshold from $13,800 to $1000, a ban on anonymous donations over $50 and a ban on foreign donations.

ALP General Secretary George Wright did not respond before deadline to a question asking whether the ALP would continue to accept donations from banks.

A spokesman from Mr Shorten’s office said there would be no change to the ALP policy concerning bank donations.

List: What Australia’s political leaders have proposed for donation reform

Malcolm Turnbull favours limiting donations to people on the electoral roll. Photo: Sanghee LiuPrime Minister Malcolm TurnbullFavours limiting donations to people on the electoral roll but wants to leave the matter to the parliamentary committee on electoral matters”I would like, if we can manage it, financial participation in the election process to be limited to those people who can vote and that’s where we should get to.”

Former prime minister Tony AbbottLimit donations to people on the electoral roll and introduce more timely disclosure”Plainly we do need to subject any changes to scrutiny to ensure there are no unintended consequences, but in the wake of the Dastyari affair, this does need to be looked at again.”

Defence Industry Minister Christopher PyneLimit donations to people on the electoral roll but acknowledges constitution’s implied right to freedom of political communication”I am unfussed about foreign donations as long as they are properly declared and they are from individuals.”

Opposition Leader Bill ShortenBan foreign donations, reduce disclosure threshold from $13,000 (indexed to inflation) to $1,000, curb donation splitting, ban receipt of anonymous donations over $50″I say to Malcolm Turnbull, be prepared. Next week you can either work with us or oppose us, but by hook or by crook, Labor is going to propose legislation which will ban foreign donations.”

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese​Ban foreign donations, ruled out banning union donations”Malcolm Turnbull has said that he supports action on that front. We can do it very quickly; we can do it next week.”

​Greens leader Richard Di Natale

Bans on foreign and corporate donations, strict caps on donations from individuals, unions and not-for-profit groups, introduced a federal anti-corruption body

​”What we’re talking about is an end to big money politics, wherever that money comes from.”

Former NSW Liberal premier Nick GreinerBan on donations from organisations, cap of $1000-2000 on individual donations, real-time disclosure”This goes to public trust in the way our government operates and public confidence in government is very low at the moment.”

Former NSW Liberal MP and party treasurer Michael YabsleyLimit donations to people on the electoral roll, cap individual donations at $500″And I believe that would, as they say, pass the smell test in terms of an amount of money that is sufficiently insufficient that no one could really argue that any kind of inducement is being provided.”

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi​Limit donations to people on the electoral role, capping donations”It’s wrong for substantial amounts of money from foreign entities in non-democratic governments to flow into [the] Australian bodypolitic.”

One Nation senator Pauline HansonBan foreign donations”On principle, you don’t accept foreign donations. They’re not giving it to you because they like you, they’re doing it because they want deals done.”

Crossbench senator Jacqui LambieBan people with foreign citizenship from donating”Our constitution bans dual citizens from standing for parliament – because of divided loyalties – why not ban them from donating money to political parties as well?”

Crossbench senator Derryn HinchBan foreign donations, introduce a federal anti-corruption body”The government is saying ‘oh, we’ll look at it.’ You don’t have to look at it. Just legislate and say ‘bang, can’t do it.'”

Momentum builds for donation reform as business leaders, unions, former Labor cabinet minister say time to act is now

Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash says she would like to ‘level the playing field’ over political donations. Photo: Andrew MearesA member of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership group has backed reform of Australia’s political donations laws, suggesting unions and corporates should be banned from giving money and real-time disclosure implemented.

Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash told Fairfax Media on Friday that she backed changes to the donations system to “level the playing field in Australian politics”.

At the same time, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Industry Group and third party campaigners GetUp! all backed changes to Australia’s donations system to rebuild confidence and trust in the political system – though those groups split on what changes should be implemented.

Senator Nash’s comments come as momentum for reform builds in the wake of the scandal that engulfed Labor senator Sam Dastyari this week over donors picking up legal and travel bills.

Mr Turnbull on Thursday suggested that “ideally” a range of reforms to the system, such as limiting donations to people on the electoral role and banning unions and corporates would be enacted – though he said the changes would be a matter for the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

The Prime Minister returns to Australia this weekend after international summits in China, Laos and the Pacific, and as pressure mounts for action on political donations reform.

Senator Nash said her views were broadly in line with those of the prime minister, and cabinet colleagues Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo.

“Personally, I’m attracted to the idea of capping donations, and limiting them to persons on the electoral role, though I understand there are some hurdles to overcome,” she said, in a reference to a 2014 High Court ruling on NSW donations reforms.

“The idea of instant disclosure is appealing also. In my opinion, reform in this area would remove any perception that donations lead to favourable policy outcomes.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Pyne told the Nine Network he backed banning unions and corporates from donating – echoing a call from former prime minister Tony Abbott – but he also added that “you also have to do something about third-party campaigning otherwise the unions will simply give all their money to GetUp”.

However, Labor shadow minister Anthony Albanese said he was “not at all” in favour of banning union donations and focused on foreign donations instead. Labor’s donations policy also includes reducing the disclosure threshold from $13,800 to $1000 and banning anonymous donations over $50.

AiG chief Innes Willox said that reforms to the system were necessary to restore people’s faith in the political system and although change had to be implemented carefully, he was willing to countenance ending corporate donations.

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Richard Neville, the great disrupter: ‘I think the party goes on’

As we farewell the great cultural disrupter, Richard Neville, who died  aged 74 this week, I remember warmly the time he could have cost me my job. In 1987 I was the young editor of Good Weekend magazine and commissioned staff writer Ginny Dougary to interview Neville and his old friend Richard Walsh over dinner (so we could mimic the title of the brilliant 1981 film, My Dinner with Andre).

My Dinner with Richard was lively, funny and profound, showing how the two in their 40s had moved on from their 1960s taboo-smashing days at Oz magazine into mainstream media – the sharp-witted Walsh as chief executive of Kerry Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press, the romantic Neville selling his show about “human potential”, Extra Dimensions, to Murdoch’s Channel 10.

In their discussion of “life, death and middle age”, atheist Walsh told his more spiritual mate, “For you, of course, dying isn’t a terribly traumatic thing” and Neville replied, “I don’t believe it is…To Richie, it’s a curtain closing. To me, it’s a curtain opening. I believe there are more things in store.” Walsh: “And that’s your consolation.” Neville: “I think the party goes on, yes.”

The morning after the magazine went to press I was told the Herald’s editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, had read the story late at night and, horrified that Neville had twice used the word “f—” (which I left spelt out), had tried to stop the presses – too late and too expensive to pulp the issue. I heard no more about it, but I realised the let-it-all-hang-out values I had absorbed as a teenager, thanks to the Richards and co, were still ahead of their time.

Neville admitted to “a twinge of guilt” about the angry, hippie hedonism of his youth and his book Playpower, which a taxi driver had told him that morning had “a terrible effect on him” and ended his plan to be a journalist. But Neville could write: his 1980 book on serial killer Charles Sobhraj, co-written with his wife Julie Clarke, and his memoir Hippie, Hippie, Shake (1995) were full of vivid energy.

In 1986 Neville wrote a piece for Good Weekend about attending the Australian Transpersonal Conference – “a rock festival of the unconscious mind” – which we illustrated with drawings by Martin Sharp, the other recently lamented talent in that team. Part believer, part amused sceptic, Neville found himself “dancing the vision” with a group: “Stomp, stomp, sway, sway….Up past the silly acid trips on Kings Road giggling at worldly absurdities, past memories of the theosophist temple on the beach at Balmoral, beyond oblivion, beyond all the books; beyond the eureka of discovering hatha yoga, meditation and the home birth of my first child on a mountaintop without doctors or drugs. Higher and higher until my eyes lit up with a simple truth: that the self within is identical, in essence, to the spirit of the universe…”

Thanks to artist Tom Carment, who allowed me to reproduce his portrait of Neville, a finalist in the 2002 Archibald Prize. “I think he found it a bit harsh at first but then he came around to it – in most photos of Richard he has that huge grin, so I wanted to avoid that,” Carment says. Neville later bought the painting as a present for his wife.

Cultural historians and biographers will find all this and more in Neville’s archive in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. I hope he is still enjoying the party.

Pubs are on the shopping list

W. Short Hotel Group has acquired The former Courthouse Hotel in Redfern. Photo: suppliedThe pub sector is still attracting investors with a host of recent sales in and around Sydney’s inner suburbs.

One of the recent sales was the former Courthouse Hotel, Redfern, which was bought by the W. Short Hotel Group, owners of the nearby Tudor Hall Hotel. The hotel was sold for about $6 million with 15 poker machines and flexible trading approvals.

John Musca​, the national director of JLL hotels & hospitality group, advised on the sale and said the experienced W. Short group hoteliers would revitalise and relaunch this historic premises.

Built in the 1920s, the former Tooth & Co hotel has been modified over the years and today operates with a ground floor bar and gaming room alongside converted retail shops with Domino’s Pizza and H&R Block as tenants.

Occupying a 440-square-metre site on the corner of George and Redfern streets, the hotel sits opposite the landmark Old Redfern Post Office built in 1882.

Mr Musca said with recent local small bar openings such as The Dock and Noble Hops within metres of the hotel, The Courthouse is positioned to evolve with the emerging Redfern hospitality scene and once again become a focal point for the burgeoning local community in this rapidly intensifying residential city fringe precinct.

W. Short Hotel Group’s principal Martin Short said the group was attracted to the Courthouse, “much like we were with the Tudor Hall”.

“We are really excited about engaging with the community in bringing this landmark venue back to relevance and further activating the area,” Mr Short said.

“This sale demonstrates that although Sydney hotel supply is constricting, opportunities still exist for astute operators and syndicators which has led us to transacting over $30 million of hotels in the past month,” Mr Musca said.

In Balmain, local investor Jon Adgemis bought the Exchange Hotel for about $5 million, which was conducted by Colliers International’s Miron Solomons and Vince Kernahan.

Retail property attracts the big gun investors

Myer Melbourne in the Bourke Street mall. Photo: UA CreativeRetail investment is moving into record territory with investors seeing the potential growth starting to outweigh rival office and industrial property markets.

This year alone, more than $650 million worth of retail property is being transacted in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

One of the latest listings is GPT Wholesale Shopping Centre Fund’s half share in the Westfield Woden centre in Canberra. It bought the 50 per cent stake for $321.5 million in June 2012 and Scentre​ Group is the other 50 per cent owner.

Colliers International’s head of retail investment services Lachlan MacGillivray​ is advising the GPT fund and said transactional activity for regional shopping centres had been extremely limited since the GFC, with the last transaction taking place more than two years ago.

Mr MacGillivray said there was significant yield compression for key retail assets driven by lack of activity and he would expect this to continue in the regional shopping centre space.

He said the 2016 financial year revealed a distinct increase in foreign purchaser activity, which made up 31 per cent of all investment volumes, up from just 18 per cent in the 2015 financial year.

A lower Australian dollar, together with enviable economic growth, are also acting as foreign investment catalysts for the sector.

“Investor interest is often strongest within CBD and regional retail assets that enjoy high volumes of foot traffic in growth catchments.” Mr MacGillivray said. “However, as the annualised data points suggest, these highly sought after assets come to market infrequently. In this vein, we view sub-regional centres as a compelling alternative for investors as they look to gain a foothold in the retail market.”

In another deal, TH Real Estate has paid $151.3 million for a 33 per cent interest in the Myer Bourke Street store in Melbourne, on behalf of TIAA. Simon Rooney, head of retail investments Australasia for JLL, advised on the sale.

The asset is the department store chain’s leading flagship location in one of the country’s top CBD retail destinations. The stake is being acquired from the Myer Family and is being invested alongside two existing investors.

The nine-storey property of just under 40,000 square metres was built in 1914 and fully refurbished in 2011. It is entirely let to Myer. Myer Bourke Street occupies a landmark site within the heart of the Melbourne CBD shopping precinct with unparalleled frontage to the Bourke Street Mall.

It comes as the South African-based Woolworths sold the David Jones store at 77 Market Street, Sydney, to Scentre Group and Cbus for $360 million. The store will be redeveloped into a luxury retail centre with apartments on top. CBRE and Savills advised on the sale.

There are also suggestions that Scentre Group and Stockland are looking at the Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Company building at 160 Pitt Street being sold by JLL’s directors Simon Rooney and Rob Sewell, alongside financial adviser Pitt Street Real Estate Partners, with a value of more than $100 million.

Stephen Philp, head of capital transactions for TH Real Estate Australia, said the Myer acquisition fitted the group’s strategy of owning dominant, well-located, prime retail properties that cater to today’s occupier needs, in the world’s most attractive real estate markets.

“The property’s location at the centre of the strengthening core retail precinct in the Melbourne CBD is supportive of Myer’s long-term occupancy of its flagship store,” Mr Philp said.

Ballarat daredevils slammed for antics on blow-up mattress in flood watervideo

Police have hit out at one man who put his life on the line for a cheap thrill in flood waters today.

While most us were huddling indoors to try and avoid today’s deluge of rain, one person took to Ballarat’s torrent waterways in a daring act.

Equipped with nothing but an inflatable air mattress, the daredevil tested out his sea legs along what appears to be the Yarrowee River.

Wearing a pair of boardshoots, shoes and a hoody, the man took to the water in search of some thrills.

Daredevil slammed for antics on blow-up mattress in flood water | videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州/transform/v1/crop/frm/34dXacDR8RguBkyLHxYXLhN/66a466d4-1966-4bed-84f2-9bf09e8d99b8.JPG/r0_21_622_372_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgVIC: Police have hit out at a man who put his life on the line for a cheap thrill in flood waters.2016-09-09T20:44:00+10:00https://players.brightcove杭州/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5117798458001https://players.brightcove杭州/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5117798458001Filmed by his mates, he can be seen unsteadily getting to his feet onboard his questionable vessel as he is cheered on.

And while the activity is not illegal as such, police strongly advise against it.

Ballarat Police Acting Inspector Neil Robinson strongly warned against such behaviour.

“You don’t know what’s underneath the water or how quickly the situation can change,” he said.

“We wouldn’t encourage anybody engaging in these activities.”

The State Emergency Service also strongly advises against going anywhere near floodwaters.

A warning on its website says:

“Never enter or travel through floodwater. This includes walking, driving, riding and playing in floodwater,” it reads.

“Entering floodwater is the leading cause of death during floods.”

* The Couriercommunicated withthe person who filmed the video, but they did not wish to be identified, nor did the man in the video.

Warning after North Korea sets off biggest atomic blast

Beijing. North Korea says it is now capable of mounting nuclear warheads onto its arsenal of ballistic missiles after it conducted its fifth and most powerful atomic test to date.

Friday morning’s nuclear test triggered a magnitude 5.3 earthquake and sent world leaders scrambling to condemn the North’s latest act of aggression, as Kim Jong-un’s isolated regime continues to defy international sanctions.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the North Korean leader was showing “maniacal recklessness” in ignoring the world’s call to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons. US President Barack Obama said the test would be met with “serious consequences”.

The test was a “grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability,” Mr Obama said in a statement, adding North Korea should face consequences for its “unlawful and dangerous actions.”

Australia’s Foreign Ministers Julie Bishop, speaking in London on Friday morning, said China needed to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“This is extremely destabilising behaviour,” she said. “It poses not only a regional threat but a global threat. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this further provocative act by North Korea, which is in flagrant breach of numerous Security Council resolutions.

“We will certainly be seeking China’s response to this. China is an influence in North Korea, China has a special role to play given its proximity to the North Korean regime, so we will be working with other partners but also calling on China to do more to curb this provocative behaviour,” Ms Bishop said.

“While North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and carrying out these nuclear and ballistic tests their people are suffering. The long-suffering people of North Korea need a regime that focuses on their needs not provocative behaviour that represents a global and regional threat.”

China, North Korea’s only major diplomatic ally, said it was resolutely opposed to the test and urged Pyongyang to stop taking actions that would further worsen the situation. It began emergency radiation monitoring along its north-eastern border shared with North Korea, state media reported.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter also singled out China’s influence.

“It’s China’s responsibility,” he said. “China has and shares an important responsibility for this development and has an important responsibility to reverse it.”

The North’s official Korea Central News Agency said the nuclear test was retaliation against “US-led hostile forces” and showed “the toughest will of the [Workers’ Party] and the Korean people to get themselves always ready to retaliate against the enemies if they make provocation”.

The test underscores Pyongyang’s continued defiance but also what analysts say is the ineffectiveness of tough trade and diplomatic sanctions imposed after its previous nuclear test in January.

“Sanctions have already been imposed on almost everything possible, so the policy is at an impasse,” Tadashi Kimiya, a University of Tokyo professor specialising in Korean issues, told Reuters. “In reality, the means by which the United States, South Korea and Japan can put pressure on North Korea have reached their limits.”

North Korea’s repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests also underline tensions between Pyongyang and Beijing, which has failed to rein in the Kim regime’s behaviour. The instability on the Korean peninsula saw Seoul announce in July it would ask the US military to deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his South Korean counterpart Park during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou earlier this week, saying that “mishandling the issue” could “intensify conflicts” in the Korean peninsula.

With Nick Miller, Reuters

Sydney metro markets on growth path

152 Riley Street, Darlinghurst, was sold on a 5% yield. Photo: suppliedBuyers are now turning their attention to the city fringe and east Sydney markets, which are undergoing a seismic shift with pubs and bars closing and being redeveloped into residential and hotel towers.

This has occurred at Potts Point and Kings Cross, where the nightlife has changed due to the lockout laws. The area is being gentrified and the cafe society is switching the precinct into a day-time location.

According to CBRE, the city fringe yields range from 1.2 per cent, with 89 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, selling for $4.89 million, up to 5 per cent for the sale of 152 Riley Street, Darlinghurst, for $18.88 million.

This is due to buyers seeing the market as a “safe bet” in the long term.

Nicholas Heaton, head of metropolitan sales NSW at CBRE, said developers are also chasing development sites in the area where it is not uncommon to pay $450,000-$650,000 a unit site for raw development sites.

He said this is a result of the strong demand for new apartments in the area from downsizers, young professionals and investors paying $20,000 per square metre to $25,000 per sq m for apartments in the fringe.

“Developers would rather focus their attention and capital into markets like Darlinghurst where there is still a huge gap between supply and demand with very few development sites coming up,” Mr Heaton said.

Gemma Isgro,​ CBRE city fringe, said the last development site CBRE sold in Darlinghurst attracted local developers along with buyers from Brisbane, Melbourne and Hangzhou.

“This area has a national and global appeal due to the strong-performing end sales achieved in projects like Omnia sold by the CBRE project marketing team,” Ms Isgro said.

“Unlike greenfield development sites the majority of the development sites we are selling in the city fringe have current improvements on them that can be leased and cover holding cost during the DA process. This is very appealing to developers as it makes it easier to get finance from the banks,” Michael Khouri, CBRE city fringe, said.

The CBRE city fringe team has been appointed to sell 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, which consists of two freehold buildings consisting of 840 sq m of internal area with development potential for a boutique residential project.

According to Colliers International research, while metropolitan locations can sometimes offer lifestyle upside to tenants, being close to the CBD remains an important tenant consideration due to the close proximity of business and financial services, public and private clients, suppliers, financiers and key decision makers.

“From a talent retention and attraction perspective, CBD proximity allows tenants to access a wider pool of recruits due to the central location of the business. In terms of cost management, tenants can enjoy the amenity advantages of a CBD-adjacent location at a lower rental cost,” Colliers International research says.

“From an investment perspective, there tends to be higher levels of domestic institutional and offshore investment given the dynamics of fringe markets tend to be similar in nature to the CBD and enjoy easier access to transport services.”