Tall & Urban News

Groundbreaking Imminent for Melbourne Timber Tower

09 June 2021 | Melbourne, Australia

US real estate firm Hines will break ground on what could be Melbourne’s tallest mass-engineered timber office building later in 2021 after pausing plans for the AU$200-million (US$154-million) project last year.

The 2,120-square-meter corner site at 36-52 Wellington Street, Collingwood—a collection of neighbouring warehouse-style properties—was sold to Hines by Robert Larsson, the owner of local hardware business Manfax Hardware and Paint, early in 2019 for AU$28.5 million (US$22 million).

Featured Buildings
CTBUH Member Companies
(showing member level)

The 15-level office project, dubbed Wellington, secured development approval late last year and other regulatory hurdles more recently, putting construction back on track to begin in the third quarter of this year.

Hines director Simon Nasa said it had planned to begin construction last year, but put the project on hold to rethink its design and amenity as the pandemic hit.

Hines remains committed to developing the building using its “T3 strategy”, employing timber benefiting from new transit and technology systems.

“Timber construction increases staff connection to their workplace, creating an enjoyable working environment which will appeal to forward-thinking tenants seeking a true ‘live, work, play’ balance for their staff,” Nasa said.

“We are all about creating collaborative and adaptive workspaces that respond to the changing needs of progressive businesses, blurring the boundaries of what an office can do.”

Designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, the tower will offer 18,200 square meters of net lettable area and floor plates ranging from 900 to 1,500 square meters.

It will feature common social areas, large tenant terraces, public third-space activation and premium end-of-trip facilities.

The Texas-based company has appointed Colliers’ Travis Myerscough and Damien Adkins as exclusive leasing agents. Luxury car maker Porsche has signed on as one of the building’s first tenants.

Myerscough said the timber building and its sustainability credentials would appeal to and draw “young, dynamic tenants” in the technology, marketing, professional services, design and medical sectors looking to be on the cafe- and restaurant-lined Collingwood boulevards.

“There has never been a building like this in Melbourne,” Myerscough said.

“Collingwood is expected to become the next Cremorne thanks to its easy access to the CBD and appeal to quality staff in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.”

Hines expects to complete Wellington by the third quarter of 2023 and is targeting 5-star NABERS and 5.5-star Green Star ratings as a minimum.

The building will feature technology embedded in the building to allow for touchless entry and exit as well as an on-site wellness centre.

At a neighbouring site at 14 Mason Street, plans by Kerstin Thompson Architects for a project to be built primarily from cross-laminated timber is currently before the council.

Also in the neighbourhood, Peregrine Projects’ development at 88 Langridge Street is under construction and being overseen by Kajima-owned builder Minicon.

Co-working hub CreativeCube.Co has been secured as an anchor tenant for that project and is on track to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022.

For more on this story, go to The Urban Developer.