Published: August 28, 2018

CHARTER Hall is preparing to release to market the final piece of its GPO development, after kicking off an $8 million restoration of the Telephone Exchange Building on Franklin St in the CBD.

With all but one and a half floors of the adjoining $250 million GPO Exchange building leased to BHP and the Attorney General’s department, the property group is turning its attention to leasing space in the heritage-listed Telephone Exchange Building.

During a visit to Adelaide last week, Charter Hall regional development director Simon Stockfeld said the restoration works were on track for completion in September next year - coinciding with the opening of the new 19-floor office tower.

He said the group was finalising its leasing strategy for the 370sqm of ground floor space and 412sqm of first floor space, with a market launch likely next month.

“We’re going to go to the market with a pretty flexible brief around what people can do and see what ideas people have,” he said.

“For us it’s about creating a space that will be great for the precinct, but also for the occupants of the building as well.

“When we finish (the restoration works) it will be back very close to its original form, and for me that’s a great outcome.”

On the back of its successful GPO project, Charter Hall is planning another “GPO style” project in Adelaide, currently negotiating the purchase of another development site in the CBD.

“GPO has been and continues to be a really great project for the group and we want to do more work like that locally in Adelaide - we’ve got ambitions to do another GPO-style project in the CBD,” Mr Stockfeld said.

“The feedback we’re getting from the market is that they like that we’re hands on operational - we’re not just there to develop and leave.

“The background of the general economy is going well and a GPO size building is a good size building for Charter Hall - it’s big enough to be meaningful in the portfolio but it’s not too big to need a huge pre-commitment to get it away.”

Charter Hall boosted its local presence earlier this year with the appointment of Kimberley Gillan to the role of state general manager.

Ms Gillan, a former senior associate director in CBRE’s asset services team, said the GPO tower would set a new benchmark in Adelaide’s office market.

“It’s been a really nice transition, and to be working on a project like GPO Exchange - that’s really exciting,” she said.

“We are the only institutional investor with a physical presence in the state and I think that’s really nice to have a hands-on involvement with the local people on the ground - our tenants, our customers and actually be across what’s happening in the market.

“It’s really exciting that Adelaide has put itself not only on Australia’s map but the world is talking about what we’re doing in terms of things like Ten Gigabit Adelaide- there's a real buzz."

Mr Stockfeld said major defence contracts were a “game-changer” for the state.

“I’ve been coming across here for quite a while and this is the best economic position I’ve seen Adelaide in for a long time,” he said.

Article by Giuseppe Tauriello, originally appeared in The Advertiser, August 27, 2018