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Docklands is a highlight

29 Oct 2013

Docklands is a highlight Image

Places Victoria recorded a $4.9 million profit from Docklands over the last financial year.

The urban renewal authority’s 2012 – 2013 annual report revealed Docklands to be one of the organisation’s highlights, in a year which saw the company report an overall loss of $191.9 million.

It’s a major jump from the previous year’s figures, which showed an overall loss of $18.9 million and a Docklands profit of $15.2 million.

The 2012- 13 year saw the start of construction of three projects in Docklands, with a combined value of half a billion dollars.

These include the Medibank corporate headquarters at 720 Bourke St, scheduled for completion in August 2014, Array, a 35-storey residential development at Yarra’s Edge and the retail component of Collins Square.

The total value of the eight projects under construction in Docklands at the end of the financial year was $1.1 billion.

The report also revealed Docklands received an influx of 3500 staff over the past year including 900 workers at the Aurecon building on Bourke St, 600 from Pearson Group at the Goods Shed on Collins St and 2000 at Marsh Mercer at Collins Square.

A further 5900 staff will eventually end up at NAB’s new headquarters at 700 Bourke St, relocating from six buildings across the CBD.

Although the report showed an overall loss of $191.9 million, Places Victoria did make an operating profit of $1.6 million.

In a statement provided in the organisation’s annual report, former Places Victoria CEO Peter Seamer said: “In recent years, however, the organisation had struggled with the economic downturn in the property industry, a loss of focus and an overly expensive and bureaucratic mode of operation.”

Mr Seamer was appointed CEO in March and was charged with getting the organisation back on track, alongside his role as CEO of the Growth Areas Authority.

Mr Seamer has completed his stint with Places Victoria but a new CEO is yet to be appointed, with Peter Armstrong currently in the role of acting CEO.

According to Mr Seamer’s report, when he was appointed CEO there was a number of issues to resolve, including;

  • Overstaffing;
  • Uncommercial sites, which were exacerbated by the downturn in the market;
  • An unnecessary focus on Greenfield development;
  • Delays in getting sites developed meant the organisation incurred holding costs; and
  • The organisation generally not operating in a commercial manner.

According to Mr Seamer’s report, a new organisational structure has now been implemented.

Staff numbers have been reduced from 250 to below 100 and will be around 75 by early 2014.

It’s estimated the restructure will save the organisation $12 million per year through the restructure.

The organisation has also undertaken a review of its property portfolio and has taken a more commercial approach in its project feasibilities.

Apart from organisation restructure, Places Victoria’s board has also undergone a number of changes over the past year, with former board members resigning and new members appointed.

The current Places Victoria board consists of chairman Ken Fehily, William Bowness, Graeme Parton, David Webster, Andrew Tongue and Stephen Gregory.

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