Docklands in Melbourne has solidified its reputation as a test-bed for engineered timber, with developer AsheMorgan announcing Melbourne’s first cross-laminated timber (CLT) office building, joining Lendlease’s Forte apartments and Library at the Dock – and the education and engineering sectors have already expressed interest.

Designed by NH Architecture, the $56 million, 8000-square-metre A-grade building, called WOODWORK, will comprise ground floor retail with four upper floors that can be interconnected. The building will be built with 80 per cent sustainably sourced CLT, and is being built atop an existing two-storey concrete building.

CBRE is handling marketing alongside Colliers. CBRE director office services Anthony Park said the CLT would lead to high performance outcomes.

“This is a unique building which has 5.5-star NABERS and Green Star ratings due to the use of CLT, which has the structural strength of traditional concrete and steel but dramatically reduces the building’s environmental impact,” he said.

It will also include an external green wall to help reduce heat gain through the largely glass facade, and have the capacity to integrate solar panels and battery technology.

Woodwork office building to be built in Docklands, Melbourne.

The building is also being marketed for its comfort and wellbeing credentials, including high levels of natural light, exposed timber, 24/7 end-of-trip facilities and a mixed-mode low-temperature Variable Air Volume (VAV) HVAC system allowing natural ventilation.

However, Mr Park told The Fifth Estate the building was “not at this stage” going down the WELL Building Standard route, citing high costs, but said he was open to conversations with potential occupants if that was what they wanted.

“We’re driven by the market. Flexibility is the key.”

The building is now in search of an anchor tenant willing to pre-commit to at least 50 per cent of the floor space. Mr Park said interest was coming in strong from the education sector, due to its location, as well as engineering firms “who see value in sustainability”.

Interior of Woodwork office building

Mr Park said the building had planning approval and was ready to be built, which, because of CLT construction techniques, would only take 14 months.

The building is part of the $250 million District Docklands precinct being developed over the next several years, with AsheMorgan planning 150,000 sq m of commercial office accommodation on the future development parcel.

AsheMorgan is proposing to have the precinct connected to the West Melbourne train station and the new North Melbourne Metro Station.

Interior of Woodwork office building
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