Former Probuild development 500 Bourke revived with $150m redesign



500 Bourke St


After facing an uncertain future when its former builder Probuild fell into voluntary administration, a major commercial property project in the heart of Melbourne's CBD is pressing ahead with increased funding and a high-profile tenant secured. 

With Roberts Co as its construction partner, ISPT has announced it will invest $150 million into a "transformational redesign" of 500 Bourke Street to deliver a $665 million A-Grade commercial and mixed-use precinct in mid-2023.

The latest funding announcement represents a $20 million lift on the previous budget, and comes as ISPT has secured the building's first anchor tenant - TAL, one of Australia's leading life insurance specialists.

TAL has signed a long-term lease for 6,360 sqm of office space and the prominent building signage rights.

The building will retain its shell and façade but the interiors and third spaces will be overhauled, with the resulting renovation offering more than 4,000sqm of prime office space over 34 levels.

“We saw this as a unique opportunity to treat the transformation as a new build, but with a vastly accelerated construction timeline, all while ensuring the embedded carbon in the shell remains undisturbed,” ISPT’s general manager of commercial services Nicole Ward said.

“We’ve thought long and hard about what organisations of the future want from their office buildings, so we are engaging and driving amenity and curated experiences to ensure we have the most inclusive, connected and sustainable community across 500 Bourke.”

“We are reimagining the very successful dining precinct to create a multi-level, open-air terraced piazza that will bring together our existing retail partners MoVida Aqui and Rosa’s Canteen along with a host of new retailers to create a stand-alone destinational (sic) precinct that will connect and breathe new life into the centre of Melbourne CBD.”

Melbourne-based Fender Katsalidis Architects was tasked with utilising the building’s 40-year legacy in its re-design. The redevelopment includes a commitment to protect and renew a vast quantity of energy and resources embedded within the asset.

On completion, 500 Bourke Street will operate from 100 per cent renewable energy and be carbon neutral from day one of construction, without the need for any carbon offsetting. The target is for a 6-star Green Star and 5.5 Star NABERS energy rating.

NAB (ASX: NAB), the previous sole tenant of the building, vacated the property in 2021 to co-owned ISPT property at 405 Bourke Street.

The developer and property fund manager ISPT has built a long-standing relationship with TAL, with the life insurer occupying two other ISPT properties: George Place at 363 George St, Sydney and Central Plaza at 345 Queen St, Brisbane.

“We are investing in our people, premises, and technology to make working at TAL a great experience. Our aim is to create an environment where our people can connect and collaborate and perform at their best, wherever and whenever they are working,” TAL general manager performance and expense management Andrew Mealing said.

“For TAL Melbourne, this is an exciting time as we look to bring together our teams from La Trobe and Collins streets into one, purpose-built office. Our new office will feature a light and bright look and feel and mixture of rooms and spaces that best support our people and high-performance culture.”

Mealing noted that 500 Bourke’s sustainability credentials were aligned with TAL’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, which includes a focus on carbon neutrality for TAL’s operations, greenhouse gas reduction, and 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2023.

500 Bourke St

ISPT partnership specialist Letitia Hope said TAL and ISPT had built up a strong partnership spanning many years based on mutual trust and respect.

“TAL’s commitment to a third ISPT precinct reaffirms this close collaborative relationship and reflects confidence in ISPT’s ability to deliver exceptional experiences through leading workplaces and ESG excellence,” she said.

“We are delighted to be making our own mark on 500 Bourke as the location for our new Melbourne workplace. This precinct will create enriching, exciting and energising experiences to help people and organisations thrive,” Hope added.

ISPT has confirmed it will also relocate its Melbourne workplace to the new precinct, taking over two floors totalling 2,700 sqm.

Business News Australia
By Neil Dorgan & Matt Ogg

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