Collins Square

By Donna Kelly

23 July 2012 – Demand for office space may be “irregular” but “every tenant on the market is knocking on our door”, according to Collins Square project general manager Michael Spence.

Mr Spence said the Walker Corporation’s $1.3 billion five star Green Star and five star NABERS project in the Melbourne Docklands was Australia’s largest commercial mixed use development featuring 185,000 square metres of commercial space, including five commercial office towers, a 10,000 sq m retail podium and the refurbished Southern Goods Shed.

The project is located on the block bordered by Collins Street, Wurundjeri Way, Flinders St and Batman’s Hill Drive.

Architects Bates Smart designed the masterplan and each of the five commercial towers with the Buchan Group working on the huge retail space. The Building Studio Architects took on The Lantern, the stunning entry point to the southern half of the historic Goods Shed, which in turn is being designed by BVN.

NDY is offering engineering services and builders include Built, Brookfield Multiplex and Hutchinson.

Mr Spence said 35 per cent of commercial space was already leased. Major tenants include Marsh Mercer Companies, the Australian Tax Office and the Pearson Group – with rent $450 to $500 a sq m net.

“There is not a lot of supply in the market at the moment, and demand is irregular, but deliverability is important these days and we’ve got all of that covered,” Mr Spence said.

“Every tenant on the market is knocking at our door.”

However, Mr Spence said he was surprised at media reports earlier last week that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia had signed up for 10,000 sq me of space at the Marsh Mercer tower at $480 a sq m net including incentives of 25 per cent.

“They haven’t signed anything,” he said.

The move, if confirmed, would entrench Docklands as a major banking precinct, with CBA joining ANZ and NAB.

Mr Spence said the project was targeting five star Green Star for all projects and a five star NABERs rating for all commercial buildings except the Goods Shed, which will aim for 4.5 Star NABERs rating.

He said the building and energy efficiencies were “nothing exciting” although trigeneration was being used across the project which was “probably unusual” for a smaller site.

“Other than that we are just using good, smart design,” he said.

Collins Square’s components will be completed individually starting this year with the entire project expected to be completed by 2014 or 2015.

Melbourne’s new crop of office towers has worried analysts who predict an oversupply and climbing vacancy rates.