I've been on a bit of a sabbatical from Sydney of late. First full day back in the office yesterday, with the harbour and heads looking grand as always.
What else is new? The $6 billion Lend Lease Barangaroo project is now coming on apace. When the project is finished Barangaroo will be spectacular and Australia's newest suburb.
There is a small amount of residenitial building within the development - 2 bedroom apartments kick in at around $2 million - but the row of colossal towers are largely commercial in nature which will lead to an impressive oversupply of office space in the Sydney CBD.
Lend Lease is also busily reconstructing the other end of Darling Harbour close to Chinatown. Cranes are everywhere, signifying the commencement of building at the new International Convention Centre (ICC) as part of the massive and glitzy Darling Harbour Live regeneration scheme.
I had the dubious privilege of enduring the demolition of the old Sydney Convention Centre (SCC) last year as I was living at that end of the harbour. Mmm!
The impact of Chinese developer capital from insurance and pension funds is clearly visible across inner Sydney - as well as in the inner west in suburbs such as Erskineville, where Hong Kong's Golden Horse group just recently bought a residential site for a record $350 million.
Below I have photographed Goldfields House which sits opposite Circular Quay station (close to the Opera House). This tired old block has the redeeming feature of wonderful views and just sold in December for a cool $425 million to China's Dalian Wanda Group.
Between 2009 and 2015 the estimated value of Chinese investment in overseas real estate has skyrocketed from from around US$600 million to more than US$15 billion. Plenty of that is finding its way into Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, in that order.
What else? The Pie Face franchise group has seen its high cost structure exposed sending the group into voluntary administation. This is sad to see, particularly for franchise holders - I'm a veggie myself, but they sure did serve a fine coffee. Shame.
53 Martin Place, the former Lindt Cafe coffee shop next to our office and my one-time local has now been closed after the tragic hostage siege. Flowers at the front of the building are a poignant reminder of that awful day.
The rest of Martin Place is under construction, such as number 5...
And I do mean all of it. It's been like working in a construction site for at least a year now. Also number 20...
Actually, this is not quite true.
There is one place on Martin Place where nothing has changed - the Reserve Bank of Australia! No change to the official interest rate has been implemented by the RBA Board since 6 August 2013, which is getting close to 18 months and counting.
When it finally comes the next move in the cash rate appears likely to be down to 2.25 percent.
Stay tuned for a few forthcoming blog posts with photos from Brisbane concerning the new supply of apartment dwellings coming online in the Queensland capital.