In the face of ongoing office vacancy pressures, Consolidated Properties is bucking the trend to speculatively build a 15-storey office building in Brisbane.
It’s a case of “build it and they will come” for Consolidated Properties chief executive Don O’Rorke and a vote of confidence in the longer-term Brisbane market.
The $260 million office tower at 895 Ann Street will provide 24,000sq m of office space, a rooftop bar, and two basement levels of car parking.
“We are expecting in the short, medium and long term for migration to pick up, particularly for Brisbane. Brisbane is a really good place to be now and into the future because of our competency in managing Covid,” O’Rorke said.
“Research indicates that going forward people are likely to do two days working from home, and three days at their workplace. Covid has changed the way we work, and the spaces we occupy.
“The time of putting more people into less space is done. There’s going to be more space per person required (in an office setting), more meeting spaces for Zoom calls, and more access to fresh air, instead of recycled air.”
O’Rorke said key learnings from Covid had been embedded in the design with a heightened focus on outdoor breakout spaces and cleaning stations.
“The reason we are keen to be at the forefront of this [post-pandemic] is it is easier to incorporate these factors in a new build, rather than retrofit,” O’Rorke said.
“There has been an increase in productivity with people working from home in an individual sense. But corporate productivity has decreased, which is not surprising because collaboration gives rise to new ideas and new ideas is how businesses go forward.
“In the current environment it’s all about making workplaces an attractive place for people to collaborate, with spaces like our rooftop bar and the numerous cafes and restaurants along James Street providing a welcome environment for informal networking.”
Ground was broken this week on site to mark the start of construction. The dual frontage glass-facade building has been designed by John Wardle Architects with a focus on environmental credentials.
DWS head of Real Estate for Australia James Bartlett said DWS was excited to partner in the project with Consolidated Properties.
“The prominent location, striking design and first-class ESG credentials will set a new bench-mark for the modern day office,” Barlett said.
895 Ann St is expected to create about 300 construction jobs, according to Hutchinson Builders, and is earmarked for completion in April 2023.