Probuild Collapse: The Projects Left Behind


Sydney-based private contractor Roberts Co has agreed to take over five of Probuild’s Victorian projects worth more than $1.6 billion and employ 150 Probuild staff as permanent employees.

Probuild, which was one of Australia’s largest construction companies, was well advanced on a national pipeline of projects worth $5 billion and had an annual turnover of more than $2 billion at the time of its collapse in late February

Probuild had 15 projects under way when it went into administration—10 in its home state of Victoria, three in NSW and one each in Queensland and WA. Its residential arm Monaco Hickey had three projects in Victoria.

The agreement, signed with Roberts Co, includes SP Setia’s Uno residential tower, the construction of CSL’s Elizabeth North headquarters, and fitout of the office tower for developer PDG as well as ISPT’s 500 Bourke Street redevelopment and Woodlink’s 502 Albert Street hotel project.

Construction has restarted on these projects since the appointment of the administrators Deloitte and during negotiation of the sale agreement.

Neither Golden Age Group’s 130 Little Collins Street building, stage one of Caydon’s The Malt District in Cremorne nor Poly Australia’s 1000 La Trobe 23-level office tower were included in the deal.

Two other Victorian projects—Far East Consortium’s West Side Place and the Caulfield Village Precinct 2 North—have since been taken back by their developers for completion.

Engineering firm SRG Global is paying $15.2 million to take over Probuild’s West Australian arm.

Here is an overview of its major developments and present status currently.

Caulfield Village Precinct 2

The build-to-rent development owned by Blackstone, with a build cost of $300 million, is the latest stage of a larger $800-million infill mixed-use project and the third successive project Beck Property Group, Reshape and Probuild have collaborated on at Caulfield Village.

It comprises 437 apartments across eight campus-style buildings and includes extensive retail activation including a 3800sq m supermarket, seven specialty retail tenancies and commercial office.

The external work is understood to be complete with the project topping out in December while the project’s internal fit out is still under way.

In a statement, Beck Property Group said the Probuild collapse “does not reflect on the very strong financial position of Beck Property Group or its ability to complete the Caulfield Village project”.

Beck Property Group has since employed a number of former Probuild staff on site despite uncertainty about the future of the consortium behind the Village’s development in which Probuild held a stake along with Reshape Development.

Elizabeth North Stage Two

A two-phase project, including the construction of a 18-storey tower for developer PDG Corporation incorporating the headquarters and research hub of Australia’s leading biotech company CSL Limited. 

The building will include six floors of office workspaces and eight floors of laboratories and research and clinical phase production suites. A conference facility and lobby are situated at the building entry on Elizabeth Street.

The project forms stage two of PDG’s ambitious $1-billion Elizabeth North research and education development at Parkville, Melbourne. CSL Limited separately commissioned Probuild to fit out its offices and laboratories. 

In early March, PDG Corporation agreed with Deloitte administrators to directly fund the $1-billion project and said it will guarantee payments for contractors and the former Probuild site team, taking over responsibility for all legitimate unpaid claims to date.

Probuild had recently completed the steelwork on the roof and was in the process of installing the facade on the building’s top three levels.

The project was due to be completed later this year with CSL occupying in early 2023.

UNO Melbourne

The 65-level residential tower at 111 A’Beckett Street in central Melbourne has been taken back by Malaysian developer SP Setia who said it will directly fund the Probuild team which had been previously working on the apartment project.

Scheduled for completion in 2023, the ambitious $500-million project is set over a 1700sq m site and, once complete, will reach 210 metres.

The project incorporates restoration of the existing heritage facade and includes 630 apartments in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations. 

The project features a grand entry lobby, private teppanyaki dining, lounge, bar, entertaining space, media and library facilities as well as a cafe, community childcare centre and mixed-use retail spaces on levels one and two.

Probuild, which was appointed to the project by SP Setia in late 2019, had previously built three other high-rise towers on A’Beckett Street. 

Work began in October 2020 with Probuild reaching the first 15 levels of the tower before the March collapes.

West Side Place

The $2.6-billion, four-tower West Side Place development has been taken back by its developer Far East Consortium.

A huge project, one of Victoria’s largest residential developments, is being built on the site of the former head office of The Age at 250 Spencer Street in central Melbourne.

The project’s first stage includes two towers, 1400 apartments, 260 hotel rooms to be managed by the Ritz Carlton and a 500-seat ballroom. 

The project’s tallest tower, comprising 600 apartments and a 5-star hotel of 263 rooms spanning across 81 levels, is nearing completion.

Alongside it, a 65-level tower comprising 520 apartments and 260 rooms in a 3-to-4-star hotel was also close to completion. 

The first stage was due for completion later this year and while there have been reports it is running behind schedule, the West Side Place website says: “apartments in towers one and two are completed and can be inspected immediately”.

Its second stage, being overseen by Multiplex, includes a further 1500 apartments across two 70-level towers, a diverse retail precinct, a network of gardens and leisure spaces.

103 Little Collins Street

Golden Age Group’s 28-level strata office tower at 130 Little Collins Street in central Melbourne’s “Paris End” precinct was midway through construction at the time of Probuild’s collapse.

Construction of the $190-million development, which comprises column-free office floorplates office and floor-to-ceiling heights of 2.7 metres, commenced in mid-2021. 

Golden Age Group appointed Probuild as the builder following the successful completion of its Sky Garden project in Glen Waverley.

The development also combines retail, amenity and office space, while also providing car parking across three basement levels, end of trip facilities and a wrap-around garden terrace on level eight.

The office tower, with a net lettable area of 10,000sq m, commenced construction with more than 60 per cent of the building’s floor space presold.

The future of the project, along with the troubled commercial builder’s remaining Melbourne projects—which include stage one of Caydon’s The Malt District in Cremorne and Poly Australia’s 1000 La Trobe 23-level office tower, remains uncertain.

Roberts opted not to take on the project due to the formwork subcontractor on the project, which had closed their business causing the entire project to be repriced.

The Malt District

Probuild reached practical completion for The Malt District, a significant mixed-use precinct in the emerging office market at trendy Cremorne, in the weeks before its collapse.  

The first stage of the project, being developed by Melbourne-based Caydon, includes a 15 and 12 split-level tower featuring 200 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, and lower-level retail and hospitality outlets.

It also included construction of a nine-level tower with 8800sq m of office space on the site’s south-eastern corner, which is now leased to software giant MYOB and sold to global investment house AXA in a fund-through arrangement.

The second stage of the project includes about 30,000sq m of office space, to be built speculatively, along with the rejuvenation of a 2400sq m micro-brewery on the site and potentially a 200-room hotel. It is being overseen by builder Icon.

It has been a long journey for Caydon, which secured heritage approval for the development of the Nylex site in 2017 after a two-year battle with Heritage Victoria. It paid $38 million for the mostly derelict site in 2014.

502 Albert Street

Probuild was appointed by developer Woodlink to construct a 4.5-star hotel at 502 Albert Street in East Melbourne in September 2021. 

The $50-million hotel, upon completion, will be managed by Hong Kong based Lanson Place, marking the hotel brand’s foray into Australia

The existing heritage building at 502 Albert Road once served as the Salvation Army Printing Works.

Probuild had commenced the delivery of the 137-guest room, 15-storey project which includes a ground-floor bar lounge, dining spaces and luxurious amenities on the first floor including a pool, spa, gym, lounge and breakfast area.

Workers returned to the Woodlink development, which is due to be completed in 2023, in the second week of March—three weeks after Probuild called in administrators and halted all works. 

Victoria University City West Tower

The 24,000sq m vertical campus being developed by ISPT on the 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street site incorporates office and teaching space for key academic activities.

ISPT partnered with Victoria University and the Victorian Department of Education and Training to develop the 29-storey vertical campus in the west of Melbourne’s CBD which, upon completion, will be leased back to the university.

Probuild was appointed as the head contractor for the project in 2018 following the completion of its other project for ISPT, 271 Spring Street. 

At the time, the development signaled Probuild’s re-entry into the University sector with this project being the first vertical campus style project that Probuild had undertaken.

The builder began work on the project in 2019 with the precinct’s completion billed for 2022.

The $250-million-plus Daryl Jackson-designed project includes the delivery of an integrated fitout by Woods Bagot, and upon completion will become Melbourne’s tallest vertical campus.

500 Bourke Street

Probuild was advanced on the refurbishment of the 36-level office tower within Melbourne’s CBD Law District which is owned by ISPT and fully tenanted by NAB.

Construction involved the establishment of a new retail precinct fronting Little Bourke Street, comprising retail, public plaza, child minding centre and the new Movida restaurant.

The site includes the NAB office tower, constructed in the 1970s and a series of retail tenancies below street level and a landscaped garden setting fronting Little Bourke Street

As part of the redevelopment Probuild was helping activate the ground plane to enable connectivity across the site, inserting a steel and fritted glass canopy to the existing facade as well as significant upgrade works to the tower foyer.

Works were due to be completed in mid 2023 and will now be taken on by Roberts Co.

1000 La Trobe

Probuild had been working alongside Poly Australia on its 1000 La Trobe, the developer’s marquee project in Melbourne’s Docklands.

The 23-storey office tower includes 40,000sq m of office space as well as an active and engaging ground plane, retail offering and lobby that takes full advantage of its location on La Trobe Street.

Probuild’s financial woes are also understood to have potential repercussions for the newly-built office tower which was completed in 2021 after the firm was appointed as the builder by Poly Australia.      

Sources close to the project said that while the quality of the building was to a high standard there may be “some implications for defects”.

Poly Global, has since moved to sell off multiple assets across Sydney and Melbourne amid underlying tensions between Canberra and Beijing and a real estate rout in China, including the project at 1000 La Trobe Street.

The state-owned developer has quietly listing the $300-million office project and offloading three major development sites in Sydney and Melbourne.

443 Queen Street

Cbus Property’s delayed 443 Queen Street apartment tower project in the Brisbane CBD has been blamed for dragging Probuild into massive debt. 

In February, workers downed tools at the $400-million development after Probuild’s Johannesburg-listed majority owner Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon decided to pull financial assistance to the construction firm and called in administrators.

Mostly known in Australia for its major projects in Victoria and New South Wales, 443 Queen Street is the only Queensland project Probuild is currently involved in.

The partially complete project in central Brisbane, which is two years behind schedule, has reported losses topping $120 million amid problems with the foundations.

Billed as Brisbane’s first “premium subtropical residential tower”, the 47-storey development is currently 80 per cent complete and will comprise 260 high-end residential apartments upon completion. 

It is understood developer Cbus has since taken back control of the site and is expecting to welcome residents later this year.

At the time of the collapse, the chairman of Hutchinson Builder’s—Australia’s largest privately owned construction company—Scott Hutchinson said his company was interested in taking over some of the completion work but a final decision was yet to be made.

The Ribbon

The $1-billion accommodation and entertainment complex designed by Hassell is being constructed on the eastern edge of Darling Harbour in central Sydney. 

It includes the W Sydney hotel comprising-140 guest rooms across 25 floors and a new IMAX Theatre featuring the world’s biggest screen and 10,000sq m of renewed and enhanced public domain.

The five-star W Hotel at The Ribbon designed by Hassell will, upon completion, feature a rooftop pool deck, restaurant, two bars, a spa, gym and event spaces.

The 30-storey project, which commenced construction in 2016, was close to completion before the Probuild collapse, according to Adelaide-based developer Greaton.

Probuild had taken over the project after the previous builder in charge, Grocon, went into administration.

At the time of Probuild’s onboarding, The Ribbon was 65 per cent complete with the hotel and retail precinct then scheduled for completion early-mid 2022.

A Greaton spokesperson said it was working with administrators Deloitte to “complete the final components of the building as soon as possible”.

25 Martin Place

The $170-million redevelopment of the former MLC Centre retail and entertainment complex in the heart of Sydney’s CBD at Martin Place.

The MLC Centre is jointly owned by Dexus and Dexus Wholesale Property Fund (DWPF) and the building is managed by Dexus.

The redevelopment will deliver approximately 6000sq m of new
and improved retail space across four levels and is supported by the existing office tower.

The 67-level office tower, which was constructed in 1978, is also receiving a facelift, with much of the 70,000sq m space reserved by commercial entities well before completion.

In mid-2019, Probuild commenced construction on a development that will transform the MLC Centre precinct into a vibrant community offering retail, dining, cultural and commercial spaces.

The project was close to completion and most of the major tenants had moved in at the time of Probuild’s collapse, according to a Dexus spokesperson.

On completion, it is estimated 25 Martin Place will generate over 300 new retail, hospitality, and theatre jobs and attract tens of thousands of locals and tourists to the centre of Sydney daily.

Exchange at Curtin University

Curtin University alongside an InfraRed Capital Partners-led consortium, have been working with Probuild to construct a $300 million mixed-use precinct at the university’s Perth campus.

The project comprises three buildings, two designed by NettletonTribe Architects with a collective 1000 student beds, and a third, designed by Six Degrees Architects, with a 60-room hotel, 38 apartments and 3000sq m of commercial space.

The buildings will sit amid a mixed-use precinct of retail, commercial and recreational spaces with a combined gross floor area of 57,400 square metres.

Probuild was appointed to construct the three buildings in mid-2019 with completion then billed for early 2022 following a 24-month construction program.

Engineering firm SRG Global is expected to take over the project if it decides to purchase Probuild’s West Australian arm.


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