Office towers to the fore

Office towers to the fore
Laurence DragomirApril 19, 2016

With much commentary at the moment centred around the state of the Melbourne inner city residential market and hints of an oversupply of apartments, it is an opportune time to focus on the commercial market; namely new Melbourne office projects on the not too distant horizon.

The current crop, either awaiting tenant pre-commitments or on the cusp of commencing construction, range from campus style accommodation to upwards of 40-storeys in the middle of the CBD. Developer heavy hitters Mirvac, Lend Lease, CBUS, Brookfield, Charter Hall and QIC are all actively spruiking their projects with a large number also boasting a Collins Street addresses.

Currently, the largest commercial projects under construction within City of Melbourne are found within Walker Corporation's Collins Square project, with three towers under construction ranging in height from 75m to 147m.

Mirvac's 2 Riverside Quay project at Southbank and Grollo Equiset's 535 Rialto forecourt redevelopment are also becoming reality. Combined, these developments will add in excess of 150,000sqm of office space to the central city.

Office towers to the fore
Collins Square and 2 Riverside Quay Under Construction. Images courtesy Ryan Seychell

But what of the next crop of Melbourne office towers? Below is a summary of each and its current status as understood by

72-82 Collins Street | 36-storeys | 187m | 45,000sqm | QIC | Woods Bagot

Office towers to the fore
72-82 Collins Street. Images courtesy of Woods Bagot

Boarded up and with Brookfield Multiplex appointed as the head contractor last year, one would assume this particular project would be commencing its skyward ascent, however this has not been the case.

The project has undergone a redesign, particularly at street level, creating a much more cohesive and sophisticated street presence. While no prospective tenants have been announced for the 45,000sqm of space, another contributing factor in the project's delay has been laneway ownership being transferred from the City of Melbourne to QIC only recently.

447 Collins Street | 41-storeys | 143m | approx. 54,000sqm | CBUS | Woods Bagot + SHoP

Office towers to the fore
447 Collins Street. Images courtesy of Woods Bagot and 7news

With Planning Minister Richard Wynne and developer Cbus Property reaching an agreement following the initial rejection of the scheme, the dual tower project featuring a 2,000sqm city park in addition to residential, retail and hotel still requires formal approval of amended documentation before it can commence.

It is expected that the remainder of the site will be cleared by September and a display suite established on site for the project's sales and marketing campaign.

With an expected end value of $1.3 billion dollars, this project will have a massive impact on the heart of the city. Final metrics will be confirmed upon submission of the revised scheme.

477 Collins Street | 38-storeys | 165m | 54,000sqm | Mirvac | Grimshaw

Office towers to the fore
477 Collins Street. Images courtesy of Grimshaw

Approved near on one year ago, the 165 metre Premium Grade tower is Mirvac's flagship Melbourne project and will hold approximately 54,000sqm of leasable floor area with 2,461sqm of leasable retail space and end of trip facilities included to support a sizeable work populace. The Olderfleet buildings along Collins Street will be retained and integrated into the new development.

The project is currently awaiting pre-commitment from a tenant or tenants before it forges ahead but is expected to be well underway during 2017.

664 Collins Street | 12-storeys | 50m | 26,000sqm | Mirvac | Grimshaw

Office towers to the fore
664 Collins Street. Image courtesy of Grimshaw

The sister building to 699 Bourke Street, the Collins Street building will be the new home for Pitcher Partners who signed on as a tenant for 10,000sqm during late 2015. Latest indications suggest construction is expected to begin by the end of the year, thus finishing the overall redevelopment of Southern Cross Station.

Wesley Place | 34-storeys | 148m | 55,000sqm | Charter Hall | COX

Office towers to the fore
Wesley Place. Image courtesy COX

Having initially received support from Council, the $450 million project was formally approved by Planning Minister Wynne last week. Initially owned by Leighton Porperties, Charter Hall acquired the site during planning and will be looking for further tenants after the church signed on for 55,000sqm in the project.

Charter Hall are confident of securing these by the end of the year, allowing construction to begin during 2017. Interestingly Charter Hall also owns the adjoining site at 150 Lonsdale Street which is currently occupied by an office building and carpark with redevelopment potential.

405 Bourke Street | 39-storeys | 161m | 61,500sqm | Brookfield | Woods Bagot

Office towers to the fore
405 Bourke Street. Image: Brookfield Multiplex

With the current incarnation of the project first appearing on during our early days of 2013, the project appears no closer to commencing with tenants yet to be secured and very little news on its prospects. Developer Brookfield will naturally be hoping to snare a tenant as soon as possible.

Melbourne Quarter | 12-storeys + TBC | 56m + TBC | 24,303sqm + TBC | Lend Lease | DCM

Office towers to the fore
Melbourne Quarter. Images courtesy of Lend Lease

Approval of the first stage of Melbourne Quarter was provided last month, after Lend Lease secured engineering firm Arup for the building known as One Melbourne Quarter in December of last year.

The first stage features a commercial building of 25,000sqm and a 2,000sqm sky park to be built above Collins Street. Construction of Melbourne Quarter is expected to begin later this year, beginning with One Melbourne Quarter and the Skypark.

The next stage, construction of C2 / Two Melbourne Quarter, the North-South Link and the City Room, are expected to be lodged soon following pre-application meetings. C2 will be the tallest building on the site and is expected to be similar in height to the KPMG building at Collins Square.

55 King Street (+ 555 Collins Street) | Charter Hall

And finally according to Fairfax media, Charter Hall have purchased a future development site at 55 King Street for $78.5 million. The site neighbours the vacant 22,000-square-metre building at 555 Collins Street which owners Fragrance Group are looking to offload following failure to receive approval for a 90-storey 300m residential tower on the site.

If acquired by Charter Hall and combined with 55 King Street, this would create the opportunity for a development of significant size. The potential for this site will form the topic of another article.

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

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