Golden Age Appoints New Builder Post Probuild Collapse


Melbourne-based developer Golden Age Group has appointed Roberts Co as the new builder on its 130 Little Collins Street office project after the collapse of Probuild’s Australia-wide operations earlier this year.

Roberts Co, a Sydney-based private contractor, had agreed with administrators to take over five of Probuild’s Victorian projects worth more than $1.6 billion and to take on 150 Probuild staff as permanent employees.

The 28-storey Little Collins Street tower with 49 office suites, three retail units and a ground-floor restaurant designed by Cox Architecture was not included in the original deal.

The building’s formwork subcontractor closed down in the wake of the Probuild collapse, which led to the entire project being repriced.

With demolition now complete, construction on the project is scheduled to restart this month.

Golden Age managing director Jeff Xu said Roberts Co’s involvement was welcome news to all involved in the project, with handover of the site expected this week.

”We launched Roberts Co five years ago with a mission to build a better way and we are excited to carry this through into Victoria, including works on 130 Little Collins, as part of the Probuild acquisition,” Roberts Co chief executive Alison Mirams said. 

The project, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, will create 343 jobs.

The building design is a collaboration between Cox Architecture, Hecker Guthrie designers and landscape architect Jack Merlo. The developers say the project is 70 per cent sold, largely to owner-occupiers.

Golden Age picked up the 651sq m site and existing building in mid-2019 for $40.5 million, gaining approval for the new plans about a year later. Real estate financier Maxcap is putting $132 million behind the Little Collins Street project despite the big office occupancy slump being felt in the city post-Covid.

Probuild’s sudden collapse sent shockwaves through the building sector and drove a string of medium-sized contractors to the wall. It was placed into administration after its parent company, the South African-based Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO) ceased financial support of the builder.

WBHO blamed the collapse on Australia’s tough Covid-19 restrictions and a decision by the Foreign Investment Review Board to block the sale of the business to China State Construction Engineering Corporation for a reported $300 million.


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