CBD offices upgraded during pandemic

17 November 2021

Throughout the pandemic, we have invested a significant amount of capital into our major Melbourne commercial assets, giving our current and future tenants the optimal environment when returning to the office.

Over the past 12 months, we are proud to have invested $11.3 million into building upgrades spanning end of trip facilities, lobbies, plant and equipment and speculative turn-key fitouts across our commercial asset portfolio.

Through the significant works and other efforts, 98 per cent of Riverlee tenants were retained during the pandemic and according to managing director Kevin Lee, the capital expenditure demonstrates a long-term asset management strategy.

“Having owned the majority of our properties for more than 20 years, we are treating this period as cyclical. For one, I have no doubt that once we put this pandemic behind us, there will be a shift back to workplaces and the CBD, as they are both irreplaceable. We also strongly believe that if you don’t invest in your buildings now, it’s going to be really hard to compete in this current climate, and even more so because you don’t have the strong demand seen pre-pandemic on your side,” Lee says.

The current pandemic market was identified as a prime opportunity for capital expenditure on upgrades across the Melbourne CBD assets.

With refurbishments at 10 Queen Street and 179 Queen Street, and an entire level of lettable space added atop 379 Collins Street in addition to the building’s new end of trip facility, the fast-tracked works are a strategic initiative that also seeks to minimise disruptions for tenants in the buildings as many temporarily work from home during lockdown.

“Tenants expect us to pull back on capital expenditure at a time like this, but we’ve probably gone harder than ever. This gives them great confidence that we’re investing in our buildings for the long-term as we continue to maintain our positive relations with tenants,” says Lee.

“We’ve got 20 to 30 refurbishment projects running at the moment in the CBD and beyond. We’ve just completed two major end of trips and another one is commencing next week. We are also investing a lot in our lobby spaces to make them more dynamic meeting places for tenants. This includes additions like coffee concepts and activating the spaces with communal areas.”

With the workforce returning as the vaccine rolls out nationally, the capital expenditure and value-adding outlook represents a unique sense of foresight, ensuring the best outcomes for tenants and stakeholders.

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