Alceon secures whole-of-building tenant for refurbished Brisbane office icon

19 February 2024

Alceon Queensland has set a new strategic benchmark with its largest suburban lease commitment to date at a landmark commercial office and social infrastructure asset in Brisbane’s inner north-east.

The iconic former TAB Building, located at 240 Sandgate Rd, Albion, is being transformed into a modern office building with unprecedented views of the Brisbane CBD and Brisbane River. Ideally located next to critical road and rail infrastructure within an inner-city location, Alceon Qld, project Architects Nettleton Tribe and construction contractor, Graystone embarked on a refurbishment and upcycling program to create a contemporary workplace.

In a whole-of-building deal, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (soon to be Queensland Fire Department will occupy the entire 10,008 square metres of office space in the former TAB building at Albion and its surrounding 11,345 square metre parcel of land for a period of 10 years. The tenant was introduced by Mitch Connell of Aegis Property Group.

On completion of this major refurbishment and fitout of the building, more than 500 QFES staff will relocate to what will become the headquarters for the newly established Queensland Fire Department. The ability to consolidate business operations within a newly refurbished commercial 5- sar NABERS office building within an inner-city location supported by critical transport infrastructure and on-site parking aligned with QFES occupancy strategy.

The 10-storey, 1970s building’s revamp includes significant ESG benefits that will take it from a 0 to 5 Star NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) energy rating.

Alceon Queensland executive director Todd Pepper said the QFES commitment had reinforced the Brisbane-based private equity group’s strategic investment foresight in the adaptive re-use of redundant or vacant city fringe and suburban office buildings for social infrastructure purposes.

South-east Queensland is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and as a result there is a constantly increasing demand for infrastructure functions supporting that growth.

“This lease to QFES is Alceon Queensland’s largest suburban lease commitment to date,” Mr. Pepper said.

“Alceon Queensland has been developing suburban office buildings since its inception in 2008, under the thesis that energy efficient, A-grade office buildings in suburban locations, at the nexus of major arterial thoroughfares and with access to car parking and public transport will always have demand in a growing catchment.”

In March 2021, Alceon acquired the landmark former TAB building that sits on prominent 1.13 hectare site at 240 Sandgate Road as part of its plans to create a $200-million mixed-use precinct called Hudson Commons.

“The former TAB building provided a unique opportunity to reposition the asset into the fabric of Brisbane social infrastructure,” Mr. Pepper said.

As well as the existing building’s refurbishment, Alceon’s original blueprint aimed to establish a new heart for the Albion urban renewal precinct and included a new 7-storey office building, 15-storey residential tower, ground level retail, a publicly accessible plaza and four basement car parking levels.

Rising construction costs have since rendered the mixed-use scheme unfeasible but Alceon has continued its refurbishment strategy for the former TAB building.

“Alceon Queensland has completed in excess of 100,000 square metres of greenfield office development and adaptive re-use of redundant or vacant office buildings in the suburbs and fringe and accordingly was comfortable that there was sufficient demand in the inner-northern corridor of Brisbane for a newly refurbished commercial office building credentialed with a 5 Star NABERS rating and other ESG benefits,” Mr. Pepper said.

However, he said the Centre-zoned holding was “significantly under-developed” with the existing building accounting for only 20-25 per cent site coverage.

About 8000 square metres of surplus land remained that could be developed to between 15 and 20 storeys “as of right” for a multitude of uses.

Alceon Queensland has most recently completed TAFE Queensland’s new 7,600 square metre Robina campus and Wise Medical’s adjacent 2,000 square metre stand-alone emergency medical facility as well as two new buildings at 385-389 Macarthur Avenue within Brisbane’s riverfront Northshore Hamilton precinct, the site chosen for the main Athletes’ Village for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.