22 Dec 2012

99-year lease is a tale of 43 storeys

Acting Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday revealed CBus Property won a tender to build the $653 million tower on riverfront block 1 William Street, where the government plans to centralise the public service.

Reaching 258m, the gleaming 43-storey office block will burst through the skyline to overlook the adjacent parliamentary precinct and the 19th-century mansions on parallel George Street.

Mr Seeney said the first new government building since 2004 — announced amid the crackdown on spending and redundancy plans for public servants — was announced, put to tender and planned within five months.

“We’ve got to this point of being able to announce a successful tenderer in record time for a project such as this,” Mr Seeney said.

“We can make these big projects happen in timeframes that other people doubted it could happen in.”

He said the proposed transformation of the vacant block would create a hub in the western side of the central business district and kick-start a new plan for the surrounding streets.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the building showed the government had the wrong priorities and requested the costings to prove it would not cost taxpayers.

The existing 1970s executive building, which Premier Campbell Newman has described as rundown, may be demolished for a future development. A casino project has been mooted.

CBus Property was chosen from 11 tenderers to build the tower of 75,000sq m office space. About 60,000sq m will be leased for 15 years to the Queensland government to consolidate workers in the building.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said taxpayers would save $60m in rental costs for public servants in privately owned buildings around the inner city and it was the best use for the block. “This land has been set aside since 1974 for a tower,” he said. “It will see the development of what has been a dusty old carpark for the last 30 years into an opening up, an activation of the riverbank and views of parliament house.”

CBus Property chief executive Adrian Pozzo said it was the superannuation company’s first foray into the Brisbane development scene, after NAB and Medibank Private buildings in Melbourne and Sydney.

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