Strategic sites secured in Geelong CBD as Civic Precinct starts

Artists impressions of new Geelong council headquarters and separate office building at Mercer Street, Geelong.

Four strategic sites surrounding Geelong’s new Civic Precinct are under council control after recent transactions were finalised.

MP Burke Commercial principal Pat Burke said the commercial properties in Bayley Street and Mercer Street will combined with the council’s existing landholding to create a 6333sq m super site that will host two multi-storey office buildings and a new public open space.

It’s speculated the four properties could be worth close to $10 million, given the lift in value from being attached to the $220 million project.

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Geelong’s council and Quintessential Equity have secured four properties on the Civic Precinct site on Mercer Street, Geelong. The properties are in Bayley Street and Mercer Street.

Construction has started on the first building, which is the future headquarters for the City of Greater Geelong.

But developer Quintessential Equity executive chairman Shane Quinn said the outcome of talks with potential tenants would dictate when the second, commercial building would be erected.

“We’re in talks with tenants and were looking to secure a pre-commitment of that building before it comes out of the ground,” Mr Quinn said.

“We’d be targeting 40-50 per cent of the building.”

Artists impressions of new Geelong council headquarters and separate office building at Mercer Street, Geelong, designed by COX Architects. Quintessential Equity is the developer in partnership with Geelong’s council.

Potential tenants include businesses in Geelong and external.

“I’ve been a big believer in Geelong to benefit as a second city in Victoria, but really as a second office precinct of Melbourne,” Mr Quinn said.

“Essentially, Victoria doesn’t have those nodes like Sydney, which has Parramatta, North Sydney, St Leonards and Liverpool and the like.

“With Melbourne not having a second CBD, Geelong is a real alternative solution, not just to live there but to operate a business, whether it be back of house or a corporate headquarters.”

Mr Burke negotiated the off-market deals with Quintessential Equity over a two-year period.

Civic Precinct contractors

Local contractors working on Civic Precinct at 137 Mercer Street, Geelong. Picture: Peter Ristevski

“Understanding the council-owned site at 137 Mercer Street was the ace in the pack, it was imperative the project team secured the neighbouring properties to realise the full potential and future success of the civic project,” Mr Burke said.

“By controlling those sites and incorporating them into the deal, they’ve been able to enhance the overall value of the entire site.”

Artist impressions of new Geelong Civic Precinct, by COX Architects

The strategic acquisition enables the council to improve public access and profile onto Mercer Street, provide greater vehicle access from Gheringhap Street, protect view lines to the north across Corio Bay and provides greater flexibility for pedestrian access from Bayley Street.

Melbourne developer Up Property, which has expanded its reach in Geelong in recent years including strategic investments in the CBD, had planned to develop numbers 6 and 8-10 Bayley Street.

Up Property managing director Adam Davidson said he appreciated the benefits of consolidating his neighbouring sites into the new Civic Precinct to allow strategic access to Bayley Street.