18 Apr 2012

Top address lures tenants

THE new offices being built at 171 Collins Street, to be BHP Billiton’s world headquarters, have snared a major tenant: global executive search firm Egon Zehnder International.

Egon Zehnder will take an initial 15-year lease in the premium-grade development, a joint venture by Charter Hall Office REIT and Cbus Property.

The search firm has committed to 700 square metres of net lettable area on level 11, with the lease due to start in June next year. Egon Zehnder will join BHP Billiton and Evans & Partners, who will take up about 12,000 sq m and 1690 sq m respectively.

Advertisement: Story continues below Egon Zehnder’s Melbourne managing partner, Neil Waters, said the company had been a tenant of Collins Street for almost 40 years. ”Given the substantial growth of our firm during that time, we are pleased to be moving to a new building that is as distinctive as 171 Collins Street,” he said.

The project is one of only a handful of buildings in Melbourne targeting a six-star Green Star Design and As-Built rating and a five-star NABERS energy rating. The Bates Smart-designed office tower will include more than 31,000 sq m of lettable commercial office area across 17 floors, and seven levels of boutique office space in the heritage-listed Mayfair building fronting Collins Street.

Construction of the project, by Brookfield Multiplex, is under way. Practical completion is forecast for mid next year.

Adrian Pozzo, chief executive officer of Cbus Property, said interest was strong in 171 Collins due to the strong office market in Melbourne’s CBD, and the demand for a premium-grade product. ”We are currently in serious discussions with a number of high-calibre tenants,” he said.

The new building will be tucked in behind the Mayfair (formerly The Auditorium) and its neighbour, Kurrajong House, and will back on to Flinders Lane. The Auditorium building, in American Romanesque style, was designed in 1913 by Melbourne architect Nahum Barnet for the theatrical firm J. & N. Tait. It is eight storeys with a face-brick and cement facade.

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