Geelong’s WorkSafe building sparks employee ‘arms race’

The 1Malop St development housing Victoria’s WorkSafe head office has achieved full occupancy. Pictures: Alan Barber
The 1Malop St development housing Victoria’s WorkSafe head office has achieved full occupancy. Pictures: Alan Barber

The building holding WorkSafe’s Geelong headquarters has successfully tested the depth of the market for A-grade business accommodation in the city.

Dentist Saeeda Anwar Associates signed a five-year lease to take up the final 140sqm space at 1Malop St, joining Allianz Insurance Group, Victoria Police and cafe operator 9grams on leases between five and 10 years in city’s tallest office building.

Developer Quintessential Equity executive chairman Shane Quinn says the 14-storey tower allows Victoria’s second city to match Melbourne for office accommodation.

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“There has been a lack of premium, A-grade stock in Geelong and it was untested as to the depth of the market, but now that the stock is there and there is a depth to the market, when you build the right buildings, the right people come,” Quinn says.

The project had sparked an arms race for white collar staff.

“For a lot of businesses there is a serious worry that if they don’t provide their staff with commensurate accommodation they could lose staff,” he says.

WorkSafe Geelong

A view from the 12th floor view from the new Worksafe building. Pictures: Alan Barber.

“Not only could they lose staff, they could really struggle to attract staff.”

The building has sparked a number of building upgrades around the city.

“So I think if you look at the total cost base if you move into one of these premium grade buildings, you really are going to get staff rentention, attraction and happy staff are productive staff and businesses are seeing that.

“The risks to not being in one of these buildings, and have another department or another corporate business move into Geelong, is they’re going to steal the best talent.

“It’s as simple as that. If you are not offering good quality staff good quality renumeration and a place to work you will lose them,” he says.

WorkSafe Geelong

WorkSafe is the key tenant at 1Malop St. Pictures: Alan Barber.

The developers have rejected offers on the building, deciding to hold the property long term for its lease income.

“It’s the second building in the world to be WELL rated for base building and tenancy fit-out and its Australian credentials are 5.5 star NABERS and 6-star Greenstar, so if you couple all of that with everyone seeing that Geelong is going to prosper over the next five to 10 years, these types of assets are going to be highly sought after,” he says.

MP Burke Commercial and Colliers International handled the leasing campaign.

Colliers agent Ben Young says the dentists Saeeda Anwar Associates have just relocated to Geelong.

“Bringing a service-based tenant to the building further enhances the end-of-trip facilities for the employees.”

This article from the Geelong Advertiser originally appeared as “WorkSafe head office a full house as last tenant signs lease at 1Malop St”.