office

Modular construction company takeover:  

The world of shape shifting continues apace, with SHAPE Australia (pardon the pun) buying a modular construction business to expand its fit out offering. The company acquired Victorian modular construction business KL Modular Systems Australia (KLMSA) for $A10.7 million. 

The transaction was funded through a three year amortising term loan facility and will be integrated over the next 12 months. Once fully integrated, KLMSA is expected to contribute an additional $A25 million revenue and $A2.5 million EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) each year.

KLMSA directors Susanne Rolland and Geoff Marshall have resigned as part of the deal and will be replaced by Peter Marix-Evans and Scott Jamieson of SHAPE. Both Rolland and Marshall will remain in an advisory capacity to ensure a smooth transition.

Forrest acquires WA cattle stations for energy hub:

Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest is back in the news again to show he’s serious about sustainability. This time he’s added to his land acquisition spray in Western Australia, buying the Pilbara and Gascoyne cattle stations in the state’s north-west for undisclosed amounts. The stations will continue to run cattle but the key focus will be on producing renewable energy to power Fortescue Metals Group‘s Eliwana iron ore mine. 

The energy hub will include 340 wind turbines and a solar panel farm, across more than 65,000 hectares of land. The hub is expected to produce enough power for an entire city – more than 5 gigawatts. Thalanyji native title holders have been in discussion with Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd over the plans.

Flexible workspace trends:

The workspace disruption keeps disrupting and we still don’t seem to know quite where it will land. Amid the plethora of surveys and reports is one from Hassell that’s found that due to an uncertain business environment, tenants in offices understandably don’t want to be locked into long term leases and are increasingly demanding more flexibility. Over the past decade, demand for flexible office space has grown on average by 26 per cent every year, and 47 per cent of employees prefer flexible hybrid workplace models.

The report outlined six strategies to attract tenants: shorter lease terms, more adaptable floor and core design, better base-building amenities, co-working spaces, on-demand spaces, and precincts (ensuring that the development is in an area that is liveable, accessible and culturally exciting). 

Well it’s all part of the ebb and flow of an elastic work/office space apparently.

Net zero building for Collingwood:

Picking up on the same vibe is Melbourne boutique developer Dare Property Group with its new office building at 50 Gipps Street in Collingwood, set to open in June 2022. The building, named Zero Gipps, is being developed to try to persuade workers back to the office, to fight what’s fondly known (by workers) as “The Great Resignation”. 

Architects SJB pitched a work-life nerve with premium quality accommodation that’s also Five Star Green Star, WELL-Certified to meet the wishes of staff who don’t want to go right into the CBD for the daily commute. 

Ticking more green boxes will be renewable energy thanks to a 20 kilowatt solar photovoltaic farm on the roof, recycled rainwater supply, gardens, electric bike charging stations and passive design performance. Plus the building used 28,000 reused bricks with 18,000 saved from the original building. 

“Companies enquiring about Zero Gipps are telling us they are really struggling to get their staff back into the office, let alone attract new staff,” said Zero Gipps’ leasing agent Samuel Torrance. “Ultimately, they are realising that having their office in an up-market building like Zero Gipps is essential for their business to survive and tenants are willing to spend an extra $A200 per sqm extra to reduce retention risk.” 

Bank Australia commits to net zero:

Bank Australia, which has long signalled its green and social sustainability creds, is the latest to commit to net zero – with a target of 2035, which it hopes will encourage other banks and financial institutions to also accelerate their climate objectives. 

Science-based scope one, two and three emissions reductions targets will apply to operations of the customer-owned bank, which is a certified B Corp. It will also apply to its residential and commercial lending and corporate bond portfolios, which make up 84 per cent of its lending and investment activities. 

The bank plans to transition away from fossil fuels from places such as the Latrobe Valley, and is prioritising First Nations leadership and voices on climate action. 

Direct investments in conservation reserve projects are on the table, and the bank has committed to financing $1.5 billion of clean energy transition and conservation by 2025.The bank’s new climate action strategy is across the key areas of decarbonisation, climate justice, regenerative finance, and the protection of nature. 

“These targets are bold. We don’t yet have all the answers on how we’re going to achieve them, but we’re committed to working hard and being transparent about our progress,” managing director Damien Walsh said.

Holdmark in $10 million investment: 

In NSW Powerhouse Parramatta announced an investment by Sarkis Nassif, founder and chief executive of Holdmark Property Group. The investment will support the establishment of the Holdmark Gallery, featuring innovation in design, engineering, and architecture. Holdmark will partner with Western Sydney University to establish a multi-disciplinary summer school. 

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