image of building
Image: Procore

The opening of international construction tech company Procore’s new office completes the leasing for a “crazy” ambitious modernisation of two abandoned industrial buildings in the Sydney CBD. The historic Sydney buildings have been connected and refreshed to suit flexible work needs post-pandemic, after sitting unused for three decades. 

This curved triple-glazed abstract glass “bubble” sitting atop the Sydney skyline houses an open-plan, tech-focused interior. Procore hopes it will foster innovation, support a new flexible model of working, and improve the health and wellbeing of staff. 

The adjoined buildings at 185 Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD, called “Sub Station No 164”, was redesigned by multi-disciplinary design studio FJMT, developed and delivered by Built and owned by Nuveen, with fitouts by Belvia. 

It joined a 1909 former spirits distillery to the adjoining 1930’s electrical substation.

Built acquired the disused and derelict site for development before Nuveen Real Estate (previously known as TH Real Estate) purchased it in 2018 on a fund through basis for $180 million. Vietnamese Vingroup sold the site to Built in 2017 for $22.75

The developer hopes that outdoor landscaped terraces, a restored Machine Hall public arts venue, a lobby cafe, New-York-style bars and restaurant spaces, and end of trip facilities including bike racks and showers, will help foster an attractive work-life balance and encourage workers back into the office in a more flexible capacity. 

SubStation No. 164 has a 6 Star Green Star Rating and 5 Star NABERS Energy Base Building Rating. It includes a fresh air ventilation system, low chemical finishes, touchless and water efficient bathrooms, and is equipped with automated technology to support sustainability and the wellbeing of occupants.

During the refurb the designer was able to keep some of the original warehouse timber flooring and timber truss detailing, reinforced with new concrete slabs to bring the building up to modern fire safety standards. 

Built estimates that through design rationalisation and retaining much of original building including retaining the heritage façade, floors and column structure meant that embodied carbon was a quarter lower than a conventional construction.

Hybrid, flexible and sustainable

Procore occupies two floors of the 16-floor building. 

Procore vice president APAC Tom Karemacher said that the company was looking for a flexible and collaborative new working environment that allowed room for expansion, as it has plans to hire 100 new staff in Sydney. 

Procore vice president APAC Tom Karemacher

Hybrid working was a must for the design, so the company wanted to “ensure all meeting and event spaces could provide a great experience both in person and virtually”.

Sustainability was a key consideration for the company, Mr Karemacher said. 

“The reuse of the heritage building; including much of the internal building fabric and elements of both exceptional and high heritage significance, is valuable not only for preserving the heritage, but contributes to a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the redevelopment,” Mr Karemacher said.

“We have also acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, by choosing native language names for meeting rooms and commissioning indigenous artwork to decorate the spaces. 

“The Sub Station is a special, historical development that Procore was drawn to because it celebrates Sydney’s heritage, at the same time as showcasing the vision, skill and innovation of the local construction industry.”

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