Legion House

By Tina Perinotto
16 May 2011 –
Grocon and the GPT Group today  unveiled plans for the refurbished officer tower in heritage listed Legion House  in Sydney’s CBD to be powered by off-grid bio mass gas, with enough energy to supply the adjoining tower 161 Castlereagh Street.

The developers claimed the building’s energy system,  its sustainable building materials such as timbers and bamboo and other environmental outcomes would make the building among the most sustainable in the world. The building is owned 50 per cent by GPT, and 25 per cent each by Jones Lang LaSalle and Grocon.

GPT chief executive officer and managing director Michael Cameron said Legion House “set a new benchmark for the creation of sustainable city precincts.”

He said it marked the building marked the next addition to a more sustainable Sydney skyline from GPT, such as “the MLC Centre, a 1978 5 Star NABERS Energy rated tower, through to the six star Green Star workplace6, which features tri-generation and a black water treatment plant.”

Grocon chief executive officer Daniel Grollo said that 161 Castlereagh St was “an exemplar project” in many regards.

“Following on from Pixel in Melbourne, which is currently the greenest building in Australia as rated by the Green Building Council, Grocon is keen to take the next step,” Mr Grollo said.

“In an Australian first for a CBD office building, we plan to disconnect Legion House from the mains electricity grid, with the surplus power created to be supplied to the 161 office tower.”

Mr Grollo said: “Sustainability is a core value for Grocon and we are committed to promoting it in all facets of our business. Water saving initiatives including air cooled chillers and vacuum toilets will be included and the building will be water-balanced.

“We are keen to future proof this project to deal with what will become an increasingly carbon constrained economy. We will create the on-site renewable power for the building through biomass gasification technology.”

He said this type of technology was well known overseas but had not been used before in Australia.

Legion House, which dates from 1902, is part of the 161 Castlereagh Street project, where a premium office tower is currently being developed and built by Grocon for tenants ANZ and Freehills.

Grocon said the work would also include an extension incorporating two new office floors designed in consultation with heritage architects, Weir and Phillips. The internal lift and stair will be relocated to the exterior of the building, creating a new visually interesting laneway entry.

Key consultants on the project are Umow Lai, architects FJMT, investment partner GPT Wholesale Office Fund, and long term tenant, the St James Ethics Centre.

The St James Ethics Centre will further benefit with a six star Green Star open plan office, which Grocon and GWOF plan to fund.

Legion House would also be the new corporate head office for Grocon in Sydney from 2013.