18 August 2014 - To attract and retain the best people, companies are demanding expansive, lifestyle-oriented workspaces, according to national property group Charter Hall, as it starts construction on the largest vertically connected office space in Melbourne’s CBD.
The $150 million redevelopment project, owned by Charter Hall’s Core Plus Office Fund (CPOF), promises to re-energise this key site, providing 28 000m2 of contiguous office space across 11 levels.
Aurecon provided initial building services consultancy on the existing building at 570 Bourke Street to improve energy efficiency, which saw the 2 star NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) rating improve to an impressive 4.5 star rating.
Following this, Aurecon was appointed to commence services design for the extension of the podium from levels 2 to 12 in order to increase the net lettable area by 15 000m2 and achieve a Property Council of Australia grade A rating for Existing Buildings, while overcoming the significant challenge of operating on a site which would continue to be used during construction. As such, the work plan was adapted to accommodate tenants, including enabling them to vacate in a staged manner; isolating certain portion of the services and reconfiguring the power supply in phased manner.
One of the highlights of the project is its light-filled glass atrium that cuts through all 10 levels to create a light and bright office space that encourages collaboration through its inter-connecting stairways.
Charter Hall CPOF fund manager Chris Forbes said the glass atrium creates the largest vertically integrated floor plates available in the CBD. At 2 700m2 per floor, tenants would be able to comfortably accommodate more than 270 employees on each level, improving connectivity and reducing occupancy costs.
“Space efficiencies gained from large floors usually come at the expense of amenity in Melbourne. 570 Bourke is unique because it provides the space we know tenants crave, but in an already thriving and established part of the city,” said Forbes.
Knight Frank, national director of CBD leasing Hamish Sutherland said that tenants seeking these large floor plates were also attracted to the smaller high rise floors which provide flexibility for future expansion.
“We usually only see floor plates of these sizes outside of the CBD where the option to expand within the building is not typically available. 570 Bourke stands out for its ability to give tenants the choice and flexibility to expand in the CBD as their business flourishes, while benefiting from space efficiencies and the building’s amenity,” said Sutherland.
In designing the project to attract a range of tenants, Charter Hall aimed to create an office environment that would provide the physical and technological needs of businesses whilst also enhancing the experience for their staff.
A market-leading lifestyle centre with its own dedicated entrance will provide hotel-like facilities where 300 cyclists and runners can shower and prepare for the day ahead. In addition, expansive rooftops on level 12 will provide staff on those levels with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors at work.
“570 Bourke’s design intentionally incorporates lots of light and space, resulting in a refreshing environment that will boost people’s outlook at work, while complementary lifestyle features will encourage the pursuit of a positive work-life balance,” said Forbes.
Taking advantage of 570 Bourke’s island site, Charter Hall will also re-energise the surrounding streets, creating Melbourne’s newest laneway by reconfiguring Gresham Street into a one-way thoroughfare and adding a large café with extensive street-scaping.
A total of four new retail tenancies will be added to activate the surrounding street and laneway frontages and enhance the new Bourke street lobby. The surrounding footpaths and lobby finishes will incorporate Melbourne’s iconic bluestone to seamlessly blend with the surrounding streetscape.
Construction by Brookfield Multiplex has commenced with completion expected in mid-2015.