The final stage will see an adjoining five-level commercial and retail podium built on the George and King streets corner, with a focus on luxury tenants and food offering, designed by FJMT architects. It has been suggested upmarket jeweller Cartier has an interest in some of the space.
The distinctive building was completed in 1976 and refurbished in 1998 and 2009 and is one the main additions to the revamped George Street pedestrian and light-rail thoroughfare. Brookfield is undertaking the construction of the Wynyard railway station further north on George Street.
At the unveiling, executive vice president and co-head of Brookfield Properties Danny Poljak said the group “was thrilled to reach this exciting milestone at 388 George Street and transform another of the Sydney CBD’s established office buildings”.
Nicole Quagliata, fund manager at OIPP, added that the recently completed improvements establish the building as a “leading contemporary workplace for our tenants, providing high-quality amenity within a prominent Sydney CBD location”.
The stage-one opening comes as the Sydney office market, while hit by COVID-19, has a very low vacancy rate.
Office landlords have said despite concerns of a rise in vacancy rates if some staff opt to stay working from home, there will still be demand for space.
Luke Briscoe, managing director of office and logistics for AMP Capital, said there is no question the way businesses use office space will change as a result of the work-from-home experience, “but this doesn’t mean that it’s for the worse”.
“Having discussed with many of our customers, the feedback is mixed, with some businesses indicating their intent to increase flexibility, while others reinforcing the need for social interaction and a business ‘town centre’,” he said.
Mr Briscoe said through the COVID pandemic there has equal commentary between businesses needing less space to allow for flexibility, and more space as the move towards fixed seating and appropriate spacing between team members becomes the preference.