The current headquarters of Lonely Planet Publications in Footscray, Melbourne is about to have a major makeover, with owner Impact Investment Group launching its Dream Factory project.
The publisher is vacating the 7000 square metre space prior to the end of its lease in October, and a new mix of tenants including co-working business Inspire9, Engineers Without Borders, teachers organisations and a hub for start-ups, social businesses and not-for-profits will take its place.
IIG acquired the property in 2015 for $13.5 million on a passing yield of 13 per cent, and expects the four-storey former woolshed will have 550 people working there by January 2017. It has already leased 5000 sq m of space.
A number of sustainability initiatives will be implemented, IIG chief executive Chris Lock said.
They include commissioning an industrial Tesla battery storage system for a 230 kilowatt-hour rooftop solar power system, with electricity from the system to be provided to tenants at no charge.
The building will also have a 1000 sq m communal rooftop garden and kitchen area, and wellbeing facilities including a gym and cafe.
“We are extremely proud of this particular property and its iconic transformation,” Mr Lock said.
“We feel it’s a bold representation of our investment mandate to deliver strong commercial returns with tangible social and environmental outcomes. There is no doubt that our environmental and social agenda has driven the strong tenant demand to The Dream Factory, in an otherwise weak leasing market.”
The fund is also about to install major solar capacity at one of its other recently acquired assets, the new Gold Coast Surgical Hospital in Varsity Lakes.
IIG acquired the hospital in January 2016 for $45.8 million. The hospital’s anchor tenant, Pulse Health, is an ASX-listed private healthcare operator that has an initial 15-year lease.
IIG said it plans to develop what it claims will be one of the largest rooftop solar PV systems in Queensland at the site, to reduce the carbon footprint of the hospital and align the building with the fund’s environmental and social objectives.
The organisation currently has $360 million in funds under management across property, renewable infrastructure and aligned values-driven businesses. It is owned by Mr Lock and Small Giants, a private investment company owned by Berry Liberman and her husband Daniel Almagor.
Its property assets include the new Lendlease headquarters in Brisbane, Kingsgate, the Geelong headquarters of the Transport Accident Commission, and a significant share in the Chepstowe Wind Farm in Victoria.