New Civic Precinct partnership creates a $200 million investment in central Geelong
11 October 2019
The City of Greater Geelong
The City of Greater Geelong has appointed leading property fund manager and developer Quintessential Equity and unveiled an innovative and sustainable timber design for the City’s new central administrative office at 137 Mercer Street.
Designed by multidisciplinary Australian practice COX Architecture, the City’s new office features a beautiful and sustainable Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) design, creating a light-filled, healthy, contemporary workplace for the City’s central Geelong-based employees. The new Civic Precinct will bring together City staff from seven central Geelong offices to drive collaboration, reduce costs, and future-proof the City’s workplace needs.
Construction is expected to begin on the City’s Civic Precinct mid-2020, with project completion mid-2022.
The City and Quintessential Equity are partnering in a $200 million investment, with construction of the new Civic Precinct to create nearly 900 local jobs. An estimated 43 per cent of construction costs will be sourced locally.
The multi-building design of the new Civic Precinct includes a second commercial building to be funded completely by Quintessential Equity, creating sustainably designed, PCA A-Grade office space for an additional 900 full-time workers in central Geelong.
The City is delivering the Civic Precinct without any increased cost to the ratepayer. In fact, once environmental and workplace efficiencies, increased rental returns, additional commercial rates and a reduced interest rate are factored in, the project will generate positive cashflow of $1.2 million per year.
The City is future-proofing the organisation’s workplace needs, by taking advantage of low interest rates and high office rental returns to invest in expansion space within the Civic Precinct at a cost of $8.5 million, to be tenanted out until needed, repaying the additional cost and generating positive rental revenue for the City.
This is a forward-thinking and cost-effective alternative to purchasing or renting additional office space in 10-15 years as the organisation grows to meet the needs of Greater Geelong’s growing community.
This additional cost, alongside the creation of 2600m2 of active public space and leading environmental credentials which support the City’s commitment to moving to 100% renewable energy, takes the City’s contribution to the Civic Precinct to $102.5 million.
The Civic Precinct includes significant social investment. Quintessential Equity and the City will engage with G21 Regional Opportunities for Work (GROW) to ensure disadvantaged areas benefit from procurement and local employment opportunities created by the project.
The Civic Precinct has been designed to meet the key aspirations set out by the Geelong community in the City’s Civic Precinct community engagement earlier this year. Over the coming weeks the City will be engaging with community again on the use of public space within the precinct.
The partnership is also committed to meaningful ongoing engagement with Traditional Owners and the local Aboriginal community, building on the engagement undertaken earlier this year.
The City’s new office will achieve the highest standards of sustainable design with a 6 Star Green Star Design and As-Built Rating as well as a 6 Star NABERS Energy Rating, meeting the City’s environmental aspirations and validating Geelong’s UNESCO City of Design designation.
With 48 per cent of the site dedicated to accessible public space as well as co-working spaces and retail and food tenancies, this vibrant and thriving precinct will provide direct connections to Johnstone Park and pedestrian access through to Bayley Street.
The City’s new office will feature end-of-trip facilities to encourage active modes of transport such as walking and cycling.
Quintessential Equity bring significant local experience to the table, including the WorkSafe building at 1 Malop Street, completed in 2017 and GMHBA’s new head office at 60 Moorabool Street which will be completed in 2021.
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to more traditional construction methods. Quintessential Equity have partnered with local company Cross Laminated Offsite Solutions (CLOS) for this project, creating new jobs at their Avalon manufacturing site and acting as a catalyst for manufacturing development in the region.
Find out more about the project and view videos, renders and sketches of the design by visiting geelongaustralia.com.au/civicprecinct
Quote attributed to Cr Bruce Harwood, Mayor, City of Greater Geelong
We’re really excited to announce Quintessential Equity as our development partner for our new Civic Precinct. Combining Council and Quintessential Equity’s investments represents a $200 million investment in our region, which supports our community-led Clever and Creative 30-year vision and celebrates our designation as a UNESCO City of Design.
Our new office will achieve the highest standards of sustainable design, achieving a 6 Star Green Star Design and As-Built Rating, a 6 Star NABERS Energy Base Building Rating, 4.5 Star NABERS Water Whole Building Rating and a 6 Star NABERS Waste Base Building Rating.
We set out to deliver this significant investment without an increase in rates, and not only have we achieved that, we’re expecting to deliver this project ‘rates positive’ with a return of around $1.2 million per annum once efficiencies and rental returns are factored in. We’re also future-proofing the City’s workplace needs and requirements for the next 20-30 years.
Our new Civic Precinct sets an exemplary standard for future office buildings in Geelong through the highest standards of sustainable design, activating street frontages and generating significant public space, and providing large, flexible floorplates designed for new ways of working.
Quote attributed to Martin Cutter, Chief Executive Officer, City of Greater Geelong
We’ve achieved a fantastic result with the design of our new Civic Precinct, creating a modern, contemporary office for the City’s central Geelong employees. Bringing our workforce together in the one building will help improve collaboration, save money and improve the delivery of services to our community.
Our new Civic Precinct will be far more than just an office building for City employees – with 48 per cent of the site dedicated to public space we’re creating a thriving vibrant public precinct, welcoming and accessible to everyone.
Quote attributed to Sophie Patitsas, Chair, Design Advisory Committee, Office of the Victorian Government Architect OR Andrew Mackenzie, Convener, Design Advisory Committee, Director, City Lab
Out of a field of three strong shortlisted candidates, Quintessential Equity’s proposal represented the best outcome for the City and the greater Geelong community. The project team brings to the table a wealth of design expertise, a collaborative approach and a deep understanding of the opportunities presented by this significant project. The proposal provides an exemplary design that befits a new civic accommodation precinct for Geelong as UNESCO City of Design – one that creates value for the City and region now and into the future.
Quote attributed to Shane Quinn, Executive Chairman, Quintessential Equity
We are delighted to again be making an important contribution to the growth and transformation of Geelong’s community. This special project has all the hallmarks of what Quintessential Equity values from creating a world class sustainable building and precinct, which will embrace the unique lifestyle that Geelong has to offer combined with a workspace where the City of Greater Geelong employees and wider community can thrive and be proud of, reflective of one of Australia’s fastest growing urban areas.
Quote attributed to Patrick Ness, Design Director, COX Architecture
This project will serve as a catalyst and a benchmark, which will guide the development of Geelong for decades to come. It has the potential to create local jobs, support sustainable development and bring significant potential to grow an advanced Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) manufacturing industry in Geelong.
NOTE: RENDERS AND VIDEO ATTACHED ARE ARTIST IMPRESSIONS AND ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Communications and Engagement Officer
03 5272 4454 / 0466 933 716