Collins St creatives return to offices

Collins St creatives return to offices

By Rhonda Dredge 

A local investor has paid $1,128,000 for three suites in a four-story office building, heralding the return of a more confident approach to work culture at the Docklands end of Collins St.

With tenants at the Paris end of the city’s premier street still being cautious about returning to work, 838 Collins is promoting its facilities.

Colliers has sold four suites in the building since inspections restarted a month ago.

Facility manager Peter Vince reports that tenants have been in this week arranging for the return of their workers.

Natural ventilation and staircase access to all of the 120 suites was a deciding factor in the return, Mr Vince said.

When 838 Collins Street was built in 2013 it tapped into the demand for co-working space in a low-key, sustainable building that was Australia’s first with a five-star green rating.

That forethought suits the COVID age and guidelines for increasing the safety of buildings.

“There are two atriums with fresh air flowing from both ends of the building – one of the recommendations,” Mr Vince said.

All offices have louvre windows and instead of a water-cooling tower for air-conditioning, potentially dangerous in high-rise buildings because the virus can spread between floors, the suites share a bank of units with just two others.

George Davies of Colliers sold the three suites to a local investor plus a fourth to an architectural firm from South Yarra for $610,000. The firm would be moving in to set up practice, he said.

The price achieved for the single suite was $7625 per sqm, above the typical range for A-grade office space in Docklands of between $5000 and 7500 a sqm.

Colliers started the campaign at the beginning of February then sold the suites as soon as Stage 4 restrictions were lifted.

“We had a backlog of groups,” Mr Davies said. “It [the three suites] sold very quickly for the asking price.”

He said that in Sydney, the Colliers strata team had seen transaction rates return to pre-COVID levels.

“I think once the public sector comes back, Melbourne will likely follow the same path. I think it’s easier in this building. There are only four levels. People don’t feel unsafe using these offices.”

Many of the suites are currently owned by overseas investors. “Thirty are vacant as a result of COVID,” Mr Vince said. “People have hit hard times.”

But those firms that have survived are moving back.

“We’ve had an influx this week of management to prepare for next week. They’re asking for new fobs for access clearance and for air-conditioning settings,” he said.

“The building attracts architects, designers, building surveyors and others connected with the development industry.

Suites overlooking the park at the back are particularly popular, with an active café life, including cocktails, at ground level.

The building was designed by tenants Nettleton Tribe.

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August 3rd, 2022 - Docklands News
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