EF office vacancy continues to fall

A new major flagship project is on the cards for Essendon Fields to meet rising demand for suburban office space after its office vacancy rate fell to 2.2% at the end of January.

The new corporate office development at 9 English Street, comprising 7,500 sqm of available office space to lease, and with an estimated end value of $45 million, has just been released to the market.

The decision to proceed with this new six level office project, which will offer a number of health and wellness features to promote social distancing at work, is designed to meet a growing appetite by corporate and government business to locate their office space in less expensive and more accessible suburban sites away from the CBD, especially in the post COVID-19 operating environment.
Furthermore, a local business centre within the recently refurbished heritage airport terminal building at Essendon Fields will provide an additional 1,900 sqm of office space for small to medium sized businesses.

This follows Essendon Fields completing a number of leasing agreements throughout Melbourne’s lockdown that have resulted in its office vacancy rate falling to 2.2% at the end of January. This figure is projected to fall even further to under 1% in February, with several lease negotiations close to completion.

The Property Council’s latest 2021 Melbourne Office Market report released on Thursday 4 February, reports a 3.17% office vacancy rate for Essendon Fields, based on data provided to the Property Council at the end of 2020. The same report confirms an overall office vacancy rate for Melbourne of 8.2%, as the ongoing impact of COVID continues to influence business decisions to keep office workers at home or seek better value space in the suburbs.

In total, Essendon Fields CEO Brendan Pihan said Essendon Fields has almost 10,000 sqms of new office space in the immediate pipeline to offer to the market, meaning the precinct is well-equipped to meet the trend of businesses escaping the CBD to seek better value rents and which are closer to where their workers’ live;

“Unlike the high-rises of the CBD, the campus style setting at Essendon Fields means we can deliver high quality offices with large floor plates, ample onsite parking, and where it’s practical to encourage workers to take the stairs and avoid waiting for lifts,’’ he said.

“Most importantly, rent per square metre and outgoings within our newest development at 9 English St (an A-grade office building, targeting a 5-star green star rating) compared to the CBD are less than half the cost. On a 3,000 sqm office space that’s a saving of over a million dollars in gross rental just in the first year,” Mr Pihan said.

A number of health and wellness initiatives have been incorporated into the design of the new flagship 9 English Street building by architects Gray Puksand, including additional lifts to allow social distancing whilst minimising lift wait times, wide glass-enclosed stairwells to encourage pedestrian stair use, contactless entry, and finer filters in the mechanical air conditioning systems to promote improved air filtration. The new building will also have large 1,274 sqm floorplates set amongst landscaped gardens.

Essendon Fields believes the trend of suburban office locations becoming increasingly important at getting people back to work will only accelerate in 2021, offering the benefits of shorter commutes as well as other health and safety benefits including amenities within easy walking distance, garden settings and the ease of being able to drive to work rather than catch public transport.

The EF location at the intersection of three freeways and two of Australia’s highest population growth corridors also makes it convenient for millions of workers, especially those living locally, to access the precinct. One million people in Melbourne live within 15 minutes’ drive of Essendon Fields, and up to 2.6 million (56% of Melbournians) live within 30 minutes’ drive.

Since privatisation in 2001, the Fox and Beck families have committed hundreds of millions of dollars in developing Essendon Fields to provide premium business accommodation, and the precinct was awarded Australia’s best urban renewal development by the UDIA in 2020.

To find out more pre-lease opportunities in 9 English Street, please click here.