Sydney, Tuesday 6 September 2022 – A hospitality ethos will be critical in the design of future commercial buildings if landlords are to meet changing tenant and employee requirements according to leading property asset management group Pro-invest Group.
Pro-invest today announced that it had received DA approval from North Sydney Council for a new office development at 100-102 Walker Street, which the group expects will become a new design benchmark for the modern office and business community.
For Pro-invest, one of Australia’s largest owners and operators of hotels with more than $2 billion in assets under management, the North Sydney development marks the latest step its strategy to apply its hospitality experience to develop and reposition commercial assets that are both highly sustainable and geared to changing needs of tenants.
The approved DA plans reflect Pro-invest’s belief that with Australians having become comfortable working from home, landlords and tenants will need to offer more to entice employees to spend more time in the office.
Plans for the 45-level tower include flexible floorplates, bookable shared space, extensive retail and dining amenities, a basement speakeasy bar and greenery throughout. Pro-invest will also explore putting club-style recreational facilities in the building.
Sustainable systems are embedded in the design, which will target five-star NABERS and Green Start ratings, with a building-wide community approach to ESG.
Pro-invest Group Chairman, Ron Barrott, said Pro-invest saw a significant opportunity to apply deep capability in both hospitality and sustainability to developing commercial assets in Australia.
“It is clear that office workers want something different from their workplace post-Covid, and employers and landlords will need to adapt. In future, the desirable office will be one that looks and feels less like an office and more like a hotel or wellbeing centre, and that requires a hospitality design ethos,” Mr Barrott said.
“Hospitality is in Pro-invest’s DNA and we’re excited by the potential to apply this experience to offices that people want to work in, and that meet the highest ESG benchmarks,” he said.
Pro-invest’s latest plans come amid renewed interest in North Sydney as a commercial hub ahead of the planned 2024 opening of Victoria Cross Station – a short walk from Walker Steet – as part of the Sydney Metro line under construction.
Significant developments are already underway in North Sydney in local infrastructure, civic sites and public spaces, as well commercial and residential construction. 100 Walker Street is adjacent to North Sydney Council’s Central Laneways Master Plan, established to drive local urban renewal.
Three new office developments have been completed in North Sydney since 2019 and a further six are planned. Companies including Microsoft, Nine Entertainment, Aurecon, Luxottica, Datacom and SAP have located in North Sydney in recent years. Office rents are rising, with several recent North Sydney leasing deals achieving rents above $1,100 per square metre.
Pro-invest Group APAC Managing Director for Developments and Commercial Asset Management, Tim Sherlock, said: “North Sydney is undergoing a renaissance and our plans for Walker Street will align with the upturn in office demand expected after 2024. But we will be offering a different kind of office experience, one that emphasises wellbeing and amenity, flexibility, sustainability and approachability.”
Mr Sherlock added that in its office portfolio strategy, Pro-invest would be targeting buildings with potential for significant uplift through active asset management.
“Community attitudes have shifted – soon it will no longer be viable for businesses to operate in anything other than a highly sustainable property. Changing demand will unearth development opportunities that are well matched to Pro-invest Group’s expertise. We see Walker Street as an opportunity to demonstrate sustainability leadership with a project purpose-designed to be carbon neutral, circular in terms of waste and emissions handling, non-toxic and inclusive for its users.”
Pro-invest is a recognised leader in applying sustainability principles to hotel development and operations. Its Holiday Inn Express in Newcastle, opened in 2019, is the first hotel in Australia to achieve carbon-neutral status under the NABERS Climate Active pathway.
About Pro-invest Group
Established in 2010 Pro-invest Group is an investor in hotels and commercial property assets in Australia and New Zealand on behalf of global institutional investors, with $2 billion in assets currently under management through a combination of discretionary funds, joint ventures and managed accounts. Since making its first investment in Australia in 2015, Pro-invest has assembled a portfolio of 23 hotels owned or under management, with more than 4,500 rooms in 11 cities in Australia and New Zealand. Its hotels operate under brands including Holiday Inn Express, The Sebel, voco, Hotel Indigo and Kimpton. With new hotels planned over 2022 the group expects to have around 5,000 rooms by year end. The group’s integrated platform spans the asset lifecycle, from arranging funding through to developing and operating individual assets.
Issued by Sefiani Communications Group on behalf of Pro-invest Group. Media inquiries to Nick Owens on mob. +61 421 977 062 or [email protected]