New $400m Melbourne office for Australian Federal Police a step closer

Melbourne will be home to the new Australian Federal Police Southern Command headquarters. Picture: Getty
Melbourne will be home to the new Australian Federal Police Southern Command headquarters. Picture: Getty

A new $400 million office tower that will be a crime-fighting headquarters in Melbourne for the Australian Federal Police is a step closer to completion.

A significant construction milestone for the future AFP Southern Command headquarters was marked on Friday, with a ceremony held at the CBD site.

More than 750 officers and employees will be based at 140 Lonsdale Street, which forms part of Charter Hall Group’s $1.5 billion Wesley Place office precinct.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the new state-of-the-art building would help ensure the AFP keeps Australians safe.

“This will be at the heart of where the AFP fights crime in Victoria,” Mr Kershaw said in a statement.

“This site will include the AFP’s own world-leading forensics and digital forensic laboratory, a purpose-built firing range and an entire floor dedicated to the wellbeing of members’ physical and mental health.

“It provides the AFP with operating efficiencies, meaning there will be quicker investigative results and faster intelligence collection, which can be used to disrupt crime and arrest offenders.”

The AFP will occupy the entire 20-level, 22,750sqm office tower on a 30-year lease. It will be its Southern Command headquarters, covering its Victorian and Tasmanian operations.

Charter Hall Office CEO Carmel Hourigan said the ‘topping out’ of the structure marked a significant milestone in the delivery of what she described as one of the most advanced buildings in Melbourne.

“We have partnered closely with the AFP on the design of its new purpose-built facility to bring to life its vision for its Southern Command Headquarters and deliver a workplace that enables and supports the AFP’s important work in keeping Australian communities safe,” Ms Hourigan said.

140 Lonsdale Street Melbourne project

Pictured at the ceremony (LtoR) are AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, AFP chief financial officer Paul Wood, Lendlease general manager for Victoria building Bill Alexandrakis, Charter Hall Office CEO Carmel Hourigan and Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp. Picture: Supplied by Charter Hall

Practical completion of the building, being constructed by Lendlease, is scheduled for October 2022.

The AFP facility will be one of three ‘future-ready’ office buildings that form the Wesley Place precinct, a project that includes the restoration of the Wesley Church and four heritage buildings on the 1.1 hectare CBD site.

The precinct will include public landscaped grounds plus food and beverage offerings.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the development will provide premium space for office workers as well as amenities that contribute to the vibrancy of the city.

“This development will play an important role in the revitalisation of Melbourne as we emerge from the pandemic and is indicative of strong demand for office space in our CBD,” Ms Capp said.

The reopening of the Melbourne CBD after COVID-19 lockdowns is expected to be boosted after the Victorian government lifted nearly all remaining restrictions from Friday.

The Property Council’s Victorian executive director Danni Hunter said people can return to the office without being required to wear a mask.

“We expect this will result in a significant number of workers now coming back to the CBD after several months working from home,” Ms Hunter said.

In October the CBD slumped to just 4% of its pre-COVID office occupancy levels but we expect this to increase over the coming months and help revitalise the city.”