Office tower confirms the Valley as the big drawcard

Added on May 4th, 2012

The push towards office development in Fortitude Valley is continuing with plans revealed for a proposed 15-level office tower in Wickham St. A development application for the project, to be known as Wickham 358, has been lodged with Brisbane City Council. It is for 14 levels of office space at a total of 22,130sq m, plus a multi-level basement carpark and ground-floor retail tenancies.

Property records reveal Adelaide-based developer Prime Space Projects bought the site at 358 and 374 Wickham St for a combined $10.6 million in July last year. Development manager Frank Tripodi said the project was part of the group’s continued expansion into southeast Queensland. He said they had particularly been looking in the Fortitude Valley area for a site. “We think that Fortitude Valley has a big upside in terms of potential for development in a commercial sense.” He said it was a nice area which linked well with the airport and the CBD. “There is a lot of exciting new development there.”

While the group is still awaiting development approval, Mr Tripodi said they had already had some good prelodgement discussions with the Brisbane City Council. If everything goes to plan in terms of approvals and precommitments, Mr Tripodi envisages construction will probably start in a year or so. “We think that the market out there, there are opportunities for one major tenant and the building lends itself very, very nicely to that,” he said. However the building can easily be broken down into smaller tenancies. “We are marketing for tenants now,” he said. “We have been speaking with agents there (in Brisbane) for some time and prospective tenants about opportunities. That will continue until the right opportunity comes along, certainly. “We plan to develop it, lease it, and then hold on to it long-term. “We have developed other properties, particularly here in Adelaide, with the main thrust to lease and hold them.”

The group is continuing to look out for other Queensland opportunities. “Absolutely, we are looking all the time,” Mr Tripodi said. “We have got a lot of people knocking at our door bringing opportunities to us.” The site at Wickham St is next door to a Local Heritage Place building, although Mr Tripodi does not believe there will be any heritage issues with their site. He said they would go through all the proper channels to ensure that was not the case.

It has been designed by the Buchan Group and the tower will be integrated with Acland Lane, a proposed future laneway. The 2192sq m site houses two commercial buildings which are leased to Lexus and Godfreys. According to Buchan Group director Brett Saville, one of the major challenges for the site was the four street frontages. He said the lower two floors of the proposed building have been recessed at Constance St to ensure the facade of the adjoining former Mill Building – identified as the Local Heritage Place listing – is visible from Wickham St, and remains the focus of the streetscape.

The proposal is one of a number of new office projects in Fortitude Valley. This includes a $50 million office tower planned by Brisbane-based Vanriet on a vacant, 1219sq m corner site at 757 Ann St. It will deliver 8000sq m of A-grade office space across 10 floors, as well as 250sq m of ground-level retail space. Meanwhile Excel Development Group is building a nine-level office building in Alfred St. The $35 million project is expected to be completed by April next year. It will house 8000sq m of A-grade office space.

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