(6pm, Wednesday 23 July 2014, 1 Martin Place)
Thank you, Chris [Forbes]. Good evening, everyone.
I would also like to acknowledge:
- David Southon and David Harrison, joint Managing Directors of Charter Hall
- Members of the Core Plus Office Fund Board
The start of construction on 333 George Street marks an exciting moment. Exciting obviously for Charter Hall, for, and for their architects and builders. And exciting also because it marks part of a new beginning for George Street, and for the whole city.
In 2008, we adopted our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy with a vision for a green, global and connected city.
A key element of the strategy was to unclog the city centre and to give Sydney a great boulevard, served by light rail, that would connect the harbour front with the great transport hub at Central.
George Street would regain its historic status as Sydney's "main street", serviced by clean, efficient light rail, with wider footpaths, trees and places for people to pause and meet. It would be the catalyst for a revival in the whole city centre.
Over many years, together with city businesses, we lobbied the incoming Liberal/National NSW Government to support light rail and it is to the credit of the current Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, that the project is finally underway - and we're happy to contribute $220 million to make sure it happens.
The transformation includes not only George Street itself, but improvements to the laneways running off it. We've already seen Angel Place and what an amazing success story that is. It will be replicated in other pockets around George Street.
And this, in turn, spills over into other parallel streets, having a flow-on effect throughout the City.
Already high-end retailers have voted with their feet, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Apple and the QT Hotel being among the early arrivals staking their turf.
The transformation of the 333 George Street address began with a City Design Excellence Competition, won by the international practice, Grimshaw.
The company's design replaces the existing 1970s building with a subtle landmark, a unique commercial building which reflects the legacy of its historic setting and complements the quality of its surrounds.
It will add to the lively mix that is emerging on the street; it will have A-grade office accommodation, five levels of cascading rooftop terraces, and three levels of quality retail, all set on a prime position adjoining Martin Place, Regimental Square Place and Wynyard Street.
It epitomises so much of what our 2030 work is about: quality development through innovative design, mixed uses to create a diverse and appealing city centre and importantly sustainability.
The building aims for a 5-star Green Star rating and a 5-star NABERS energy rating. High-performance glazing and automatic blinds will limit heat loads, chilled beam air-conditioning, rainwater harvesting and recycling and energy use monitoring add to its green credentials.
There will also be bike parking, showers and other end-of-trip facilities to encourage alternative transport.
This is genuinely "intelligent design", minimising environmental impacts, offering a healthier work environment, and a design that fosters collaboration and productivity in the workplace while also engaging with the city around it.
This is what cities need if we are to stay abreast of our international competitors. It's what the skilled and mobile young workforce of today expects, and it's what we require if we are to create a green and liveable city for the future!
I'm delighted to be here to mark the start of construction, and I very much look forward to seeing the completion of this building when it joins other George Street icons like Australia Square and the GPO, QVB and Town Hall as one of the landmarks of Sydney's best street.