By Tina Perinotto

5 November 2010 – Brian Moore, Grocon’s national sustainability leader, has left the company and joined Westfield, as part of a major restructure by Grocon, which has seen the loss of 26 positions nationally and the closure or scaling down of the Sydney and Brisbane offices.

Mr Moore will be design manager for Wesfield’s new corporate headquarters in the Sydney CBD  at 100 Market Street and 85 Castlereagh Street in two buildings that will be connected by a sky-lobby.

Mr Moore told The Fifth Estate this morning that the move was on a contract basis for about six months and was not a sustainability role.

Other sources have indicated to TFE this week that staff in national roles in Brisbane and Sydney offices were offered positions in the Melbourne head office but that most declined.

A Grocon spokeswoman said Mr Moore had yet to be replaced and it was intended to do so in the New Year.

“We still have a sustainability committee of course and we are maintaining our focus on sustainability as one of our core values,” the  spokeswoman said.

“David Waldren, the previous head of the committee before Brian, is still working with us and has been doing a lot of work around the carbon neutral Pixel building.”

The spokeswoman confirmed that 26 positions had been made redundant in the restructure that would see Grocon focus more on development instead of building, and on the funds management business.

She said a small office would be retained in Sydney but it was unclear where this would be at this stage.

It would include Bevan Towning in funds management, David Emery head of engineering and innovation and a development manager for NSW.

Other project offices would be maintained on sites under construction such as at 1 Bligh Street in Sydney, for Dexus, Grocon’s own building at 161 Castlereagh Street and at Camperdown for the Common Ground project, the spokeswoman said.

High profile staff members believed to have left include chief financial officer Stephen Scanlon, former head of construction Michael Loterzo, and former general manger of NSW Peter Whyte and former Queensland manager Neill Baxter, media reports recently said. About 150 jobs are understood to have been cut in the past year from a previous high of 1000.

The news comes as big questions are starting to be asked about the value of “chasing stars” in Green Star ratings, as elaborate green infrastructure incorporated into buildings not necessarily leading to better overall sustainable outcomes.

Grocon is builder of the $700 million 1 Bligh Street in Sydney for Dexus, a building that, with its full array of sustainability features including blackwater recyling, industry sources say may “never be built again.”

At its own headquarters in Castlereagh Street Grocon chose to aim for a five star Green Star rating instead of a six star, but the Grocon spokeswoman said there were many other parties involved in that decision.

She said chief executive Daniel Grollo (see our interview with Mr Grollo) has stated that the company would build no less than a five star building.

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