Impact Investing Makes Space for Creatives and Corporates
Wednesday, 4th July 2018 at 8:56 am
Impact Investment Group’s Younghusband Wool Stores redevelopment in Melbourne is collecting a global architecture award nomination on its way to finding a tenancy solution to sustaining a creative community alongside corporates and government.
The impact fund manager’s Kensington building is a 100-year-old former wool store being restored to accommodate 17,500sqm for lease in the first stage of re-development, due for completion by February 2020.
The group will spend $170 million creating 40,000sqm of net lettable area if all three stages of the development are completed. The group purchased the Younghusband buildings in December 2016 with a deep commitment to the principles of sustainability, connection, collaboration and belonging.
The project design was shortlisted from more than 500 nominations in a new future-project category of the World Architecture Festival Awards, partly considering social and environment missions. The awards will be announced in Amsterdam in November.
The group’s head of real estate Darren Brusnahan said the project’s overarching vision was to create a beautiful industrial village dedicated to the common good.
Co-working, education, food, retail and wellness spaces have been woven into the design of the rejuvenated buildings.
A range of diverse spaces will co-exist thanks to modifications made in the large open floor plates, which will bring in ample natural light into previously unlit spaces.
The design will enable connections through the spaces for the movement of air and people.
“Younghusband represents our vision for a more sustainable, integrated, beautiful and human-centred built environment,” Brusnahan said.
Development manager James Fitzgerald said the group was chasing a tenancy including at least 45 per cent “tier one” corporate or government tenants.
“But we think cultural and creative industries are important to the fabric of developments,” Fitzgerald said.
“Government and corporate like being in a creative precinct of such scale, and the creative industries, the artists and the manufacturers want to be in a precinct they know they are going to be in long-term.
“So they know they are not going to be booted out, be looking at a six-month lease, or a month-to-month basis – that’s what happens.”
Fitzgerald said the group was targeting a combination of artists, wellbeing, developers, artisans – everything from whisky distillers, micro breweries, leather makers, chair makers, trades, things that are handmade and high-quality.
“There are so many people making things and doing things that are creative and innovative but they just get booted out of these princints because land values are too high,” Fitzgerald said.
“So we are trying to find a model, we are not saying we can do it for everyone, but get to a position where we can find a mix between all of them and the only way you can do that is to have scale.”
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