Gallagher Jeffs and Woods Bagot recently co-hosted an exclusive breakfast panel discussion, Evolution: Repurposing Assets for the future, in Melbourne. Our panel of Industry experts, Tim d'Antoine, Bronwyn McColl, Sarah Macklin together with moderator Grant Holman, shared their experiences and discussed the factors surrounding the repurposing of assets and in particular sector suitability, supply, challenges, construction and impact on commercial realisation. We also had a great interactive discussion and many of our guests shared their views and questions throughout. As land is finite and our cities mature, there is an opportunity to meet growing demand and repurpose older, outdated buildings into much needed education, hotel, residential, office and retail spaces.
Recent local examples include our first vertical school, which saw Haileybury repurpose a 10 level office building at 383 King St, Melbourne into a co-educational facility that caters for 800 students from ELC to Year 12. The Rialto added 6,000 square metres of flexible workspace to the existing 84,000 square metres of office space, while also providing access for the public to move easily from Collins Street into a new plaza space. Both projects highlight the uncapped possibilities of creating new urban spaces that integrate into the surrounding precincts and preserve Melbourne’s heritage.
The success of these types of projects is contingent on well considered due diligence, with the assessment of the buildings physical attributes, planning constraints, latent conditions / contamination analysis and any remediation requirements, buildability, programming and the delivery strategy. The outcome of an adaptive-reuse project is often better than a new development, prolonging the usefulness of a building in its surroundings and unlocking improved development profitability or on going yields, through floor area expansion and by catering to an alternate sector with current market demands.
Other considerations include but are not limited to, engaging the right team of consultants as early as possible, funding and exploring early engagement options with contractors, as well as flexible procurement arrangements, in order to provide input into technical design, construction staging especially in live environments, value management and site logistics.