Less is more: Loft-style offices for a Post-COVID world

Loft-style offices will be added to Melbourne’s David Jones menswear building on Bourke Street Mall under plans submitted to the City of Melbourne and Heritage Victoria by Newmark Capital.

The new offices would occupy the dormant upper floors of the buildings, currently used for storage, while the lower floors of the 299 Bourke Street building would remain dedicated to premium retail.


The offering comes as Melbourne extends its current lockdown and demand for office space drops at a record rate.

The design by Bates Smart included updating the lower part of the building with metal canopies and a glazed façade taking cues from its original character.

The new offices, at the top of the building, would be accessed via a dedicated lobby at 280 Little Collins Street and would have high ceilings and rooftop terraces.

The original building on the 2247sq m site was developed in two stages—in 1929 the seven-storey east side was built and in 1938 a four-storey extension was added.

Newmark purchased the property for $121 million with a short-term leaseback to David Jones in mid-2020.

Newmark general manager property Angus Machutchison said redeveloping Melbourne sites was vital to attracting people back to the CBD.

“Our vision for 299 Bourke offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, as well as an unparalleled amenity in the heart of the city,” Machutchison said.

“The offices will provide true workplaces of the future.

“The addition of rooftop entertaining areas gives tenants a unique perspective of the CBD and a tremendous enhancement to the traditional workplace provided in the city.”

JLL senior director Nick Drake said that since the onset of Covid, businesses were looking for innovative ways to attract people back into the office.

“Occupiers are looking for unique office spaces to assist in staff engagement and collaboration,” Drake said.

“It is far from the traditional corporate tower as it benefits from large floor plates, high ceilings and various outdoor terrace and entertainment areas that provide different experiences throughout the workplace.”

Collier’s national director office leasing Edward Knowles said it’s a beautiful, heritage-style building taken to A-grade office standard.

“This is a place being transformed for organisations looking at different ways to enable office working,” Knowles said.

Via The Urban Developer

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