99 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

15 August 2013 — Commercial and residential property developer Kyko Group, well known for its refurbishment of the art deco City Mutual Building, is near completion of a refurbishment of its 99 Elizabeth Street office in Sydney, lifting the building from a 0-star NABERS rating to an expected 4.5 stars.

The 17-storey office building has 8558 square metres of net lettable area and has been updated to meet Property Council of Australia A Grade standards to enhance environmental performance and improve amenity.

Kyko is controlled by managing director Mary Wong-Jenkings, and reportedly bought the building, which had been tenanted by around 40 small law firms, for $75.6 million in 2007. All but the basement restaurant were required to vacate when construction started in 2011.

Development manager Richard Huynh told The Fifth Estate the building, which was purchased with a view to modernisation, had not had any major refurbishment since being built in 1969, and had been in “a very poor state” regarding environmental credentials, with a NABERS rating of 0.

He said the group’s goal across all its commercial building holdings was to increase energy efficiency and sustainability credentials, but that major refurbishments like this would typically only be performed on poorly performing assets.

“If a building is performing reasonably well in its current condition, we wouldn’t likely undertake a major refurbishment,” he said. “Rather, we would be looking at the building’s services and undertaking  upgrades to obtain improvements in the building’s energy efficiency.”

For the refurbishment of 99 Elizabeth Street, Kyko entered into a commitment agreement to achieve a 4.5-star NABERS Energy rating for the base building.

Mr Huynh said sustainability upgrades were typically driven by tenant demand, and that a minimum of 4.5-star NABERS, which was required by government tenants, was quickly becoming standard for the tenants they were targeting – boutique financial services and law firms.

“The current trend in the market is to have environmental sustainability credentials,” he said. “Our building is in a law precinct, and the type of tenants we’re looking for want more sustainable buildings.”

The building has also been awarded a 4 Star Green Star — Office Design v3 rating, and is registered for a 4 Star Green Star — Office As Built v3 rating, one of only five buildings in the city to be registered for the updated rating, and the only refurbishment.

Mr Huynh said Green Star was now a “pivotal requirement” for premium and A Grade office buildings.

He said there were a number of benefits of green buildings, including a reduction in operational costs, increased marketability and lettability of office space, and better environmental outcomes.

The company’s investments in upgrades were also about future-proofing its assets, he said.

“We have to look to the future regarding when we divest,” he said. “What will the market be like in five years time? If all the buildings have a Green Star rating, that’s what we’re competing against.

“We have to make sure our buildings are reflecting the market.”

Mr Huynh said the upgrade had garnered a good response from prospective tenants.

Leasing for the building is being handled by CBRE’s Jenine Cranston and Ben Cohen.

Rents were reported to be around $450 a sq m before refurbishment, and CBRE is now advertising between $615 and $700 a sq m on its website, plus outgoings.

Final commissioning is currently being completed and tenants are expected to occupy from September.

Working on the project were architects Cox Architecture, builders SX Projects, service engineers VOS and sustainability experts from VOS and Team Catalyst.

Key features of the refurbishment include:

HVAC

  • High efficiency, low temperature, low flow VAV airconditioning system served by a central plant system
  • High efficiency water cooled chillers rejecting heat to cooling towers
  • High induction swirl diffusers to provide a high efficiency, targeted supply of cooling
  • CO2 sensors to regulate fresh air in response to demand
  • Gas hot water heating
  • Building management system installed to manage and monitor all HVAC and electrical systems

Electrical

  • An efficient lighting system which uses only fluorescent, compact fluorescent and LED lighting systems
  • Lighting control based on time schedules that utilises motion control sensors after hours
  • Electrical sub-metering to provide information for tenants regarding energy usage and to facilitate improved energy management to achieve cost efficiencies

Sustainable design and initiatives

  • High performance Insulated Glazing Unit for the façade curtain wall
  • Building designed to maximise views to the outdoors for occupants and building users, with all occupants being within eight metres of a clear window
  • Paints, carpets, adhesives and sealants selected to minimise volatile organic compound emission
  • Cycling and shower facilities installed to encourage cycling as an alternate mode of transport
  • Water meters installed and linked to the BMS to monitor water consumption and enable early detection of water leaks to prevent water wastage
  • Water efficient fittings installed throughout
  • Recycling facilities provided to reduce waste
  • Fire test water is drained to an on-site tank for reuse
  • Reduced on-site car parking to encourage usage of public transport
  • At least 90 per cent of “common uses of PVC” products in the building comply with the GBCA’s Best Practice Guidelines for PVC in the built environment