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GPT serves $21m debt demand on Grocon

Global consultants PwC and law firms HWL Ebsworth and Allens assigned Grocon their leases in GPT’s building, the documents show.

The assignment, which in effect gave Grocon responsibility for the remaining life of the leases, was negotiated around the time the developer was getting another premium Brisbane office tower out of the ground.

The law firms and PwC relocated their Brisbane headquarters to the Grocon-developed building at 480 Queen Street about three years ago, taking long-term leases in the new 32-level tower.

The prestigious $390 million Queen Street office also counts BHP as an anchor tenant and is owned by Dexus Property group and one of its wholesale funds.

Mr Leyshon’s declaration said in September last year Grocon negotiated a “standstill deed” with GPT.

Under the deed, Grocon acknowledged it owed GPT $21,557,612, including interest and GST, but Mr Leyshon said it had paid GPT a $2,750,000 instalment on September 24, 2018.

“I accept that some amount is at least contingently owing by Grocon Queen St and Grocon Constructors to GPT,” he said.

Mr Leyshon claimed there was a “genuine dispute” about the relevant amount owed to GPT and the funds manager had not provided sufficient “substantiation” of its debt claim.

Earlier this year, Sydney developer Aqualand bought out Grocon from its signature project Barangaroo Central, where it was among the consortium of founding developers.

The health of Grocon’s financial status was the subject of speculation two years ago after it suffered heavy losses on two of its Queensland projects and sustained a bout of unwanted publicity surrounding a high-interest loan from non-bank lender MaxCap.

The company lists among its current projects an apartment complex in Kew, Melbourne, another on the Gold Coast and Sydney’s $700 million The Ribbon development in Darling Harbour.

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