Geelong set for economic boost as major civic project gets the green light
Media Release | July 2020
Geelong is set to receive an economic and employment boost as diversified property group Quintessential Equity’s development plans for the City of Greater Geelong’s new Civic Precinct, with the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne today giving the project the green light.
The $220 million city-defining project designed by Cox Architecture will include a new centralised head office for the City of Greater Geelong, a separate building owned and managed by Quintessential Equity, as well as a 2,600 square metre public precinct.
Located at 137 Mercer St, the delivery of the mixed-use project is expected to achieve more than 60 per cent local procurement throughout construction, initially creating around 900 jobs for local businesses and suppliers.
“This is a landmark project that will transform this central pocket of Geelong. We’re pleased that during these times the project has continued to maintain its program,” says Quintessential Equity executive chairman Shane Quinn.
“The development will act as a gateway for the city, creating a vibrant, active precinct for the whole community to enjoy.”
Builder Watpac Limited has been appointed and construction is set to begin on the new Council headquarters in August with completion slated for mid-2022.
“Never has it been so important to create opportunities on the ground, and we’re pleased that we can generate positive construction activity for the community. We hope this creates a legacy for this precinct now and into the future,” adds Quinn.
“The approval of the planning permit is a major milestone in the creation of our new Civic Precinct in the heart of Geelong,” says Greater Geelong Councillor and Chair, Central and Civic Geelong portfolio, Peter Murrihy.
“At a challenging time like this, the project will help speed up the recovery of our economy by creating around 900 jobs for local businesses and suppliers.
“Once finished it will be an asset for our community, with a large and welcoming public space, retail outlets and cafes. It will also create improved pedestrian links into our CBD and give the community a central access point for council services.
“We look forward to seeing the precinct begin to take shape over the coming months.”
The City’s new office features the highest sustainability credentials, with a 6-Star Green Star Building Council Australia rating achieved for design and peak operational ratings for energy, waste and water usage.
Stimulating the next generation of manufacturing, the precinct’s buildings will be constructed with cross laminated timber (CLT), utilising local assembly teams.
“Through construction, infrastructure and design, we are committed to creating healthy buildings and workplaces from the inside out,” adds Quinn.
“We’re proud that the design also celebrates Geelong’s heritage whilst encouraging community activation. It will reflect the diversity and inclusivity of Geelong.”
Cox Architecture has designed the precinct to exemplify the City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design, celebrating the wool-store and industrial heritage of the area with exposed high-tech cross laminated timber and brick construction.
The new precinct is positioned to provide clear views across Johnstone Park of City Hall, the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, and across to the Geelong Performing Arts Centre.
It also includes co-working areas, extensive end-of-trip facilities, café and retail. Its design features a new laneway connection from Mercer Street to Bayley Street.
As signatories of the G21 Region Opportunities for Work (GROW) Compact, the City, Quintessential Equity and Watpac have committed to maximising economic and social outcomes for the region through the construction of the project.
The precinct joins an additional $40 million worth of projects announced for the G21 region, as part of the state government’s $2.7 billion Building Works package.
Extending its track record in Geelong, Quintessential Equity’s work includes the $145 million headquarters for WorkSafe at 1 Malop Street. The developer is also finalising construction of health insurer GMHBA’s new $100 million head office at 60 Moorabool Street.
The design and developer team were selected last year via a competitive tender process. All aspects of the project are being developed in consultation with the traditional custodians of the land, the Wadawurrung People of the Kulin Nation.
The investment of the precinct is shared between the City of Geelong and Quintessential Equity. The City of Geelong has committed $51.43 million in its 2020-21 Proposed Budget to start construction, which represents half of the City’s overall financial commitment to the joint $220 million project.
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About Quintessential Equity
Quintessential Equity is a diversified commercial property group that provides wholesale investors with sound, risk-mitigated, syndicated property opportunities. The company focuses on commercial office and industrial investment and development properties.