Adaptive reuse transforms commercial precinct

Wednesday, 24 January, 2024

Adaptive reuse transforms commercial precinct

The 1960s industrial precinct formerly owned by Phillip Morris has been transformed into a $200 million commercial community, sustainably retaining the existing structure throughout the build, resulting in savings of 19 million kg of embodied carbon.

With Building 4 of the development complete, the project’s builder, Kapitol Group, delivered a construction program in which the carbon savings contribute to the developer’s goal for the site to increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. This is further supported by sustainable onsite infrastructure, including a 460 solar panel system that will generate up to 245 kWp.

The building industry’s focus has shifted towards major ESG initiatives in recent times, striving for a more sustainable future for the industry and wider community. Morris Moor is an example of adaptive reuse, through the retention and reuse of the existing buildings.

The Green Building Council recently released data indicating that 42% of the upfront carbon of a building is within the superstructure, 13% in the substructure and 15% within in the envelope. Being able to retain these assets throughout the build of Morris Moor allowed for a significant reduction in embodied carbon.

Jamie Kerr, Kapitol Group Project Manager, said, “Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of development and are specifically looking for sustainable options. Adaptive reuse presents a great opportunity in this space.”

Kapitol Group was able to achieve a 92% recycled rate of materials as part of the demolition program, using careful hard demolition to work with the existing structure.

“Partial demolition of an existing structure in a live environment is both complex and time-consuming. However, this careful process has allowed us to salvage materials such as the original façade brickwork which has been repurposed throughout the building. A careful and considered approach to demolition and temporary works is essential for working around existing conditions and ensuring sustainability outcomes are achieved,” Kerr said.

Spanning 6.3 hectares, the project has been led by Up Property, who appointed ClarkeHopkinsClarke and Kapitol Group for building four. Morris Moor has been devised to appeal to growing businesses, with New Balance relocating its Australian headquarters to the site, which is already home to hospitality operators such as Stomping Ground Brewery and Holey Moley.

Marcus Jankie, Up Property General Manager, said the adaptation of what was once Moorabbin’s major employer has had a widespread impact, directly from the 19 million kg of embodied carbon savings.

“It would take more than 7500 hectares or 4300 MCG ovals full of eucalyptus forest to absorb that amount of carbon over the course of an entire year,” Jankie said.

According to Jankie, the goal was to reuse as much of the existing building as possible, including the structure, finished, flooring and glazing.

Architect Gaston Nogues, Associate at ClarkeHopkinsClarke, said it’s an approach now driving the best placemaking worldwide.

“Adaptive reuse is great because it breathes new life into unique places, minimises embodied carbon, reduces operational carbon and construction waste, and makes construction quicker and more cost-effective.

“Morris Moor is part of the next generation of workplaces that are embracing the character of historic buildings, treading lightly and creating a community meeting place. We’ve connected existing structures, brought natural light deep into the building, created a biophilic courtyard and designed flexible public and private spaces that can be used in multiple ways. Locals love hanging out here because it’s unique and there’s always lots going on, and their friends are happy to cross town to join them. It’s not enough just to put up an office building anymore. If you don’t provide authentic amenity the community won’t love it, and tenants won’t either,” Nogues said.

Morris Moor has attracted strong interest from tenants keen to relocate their operations to a new neighbourhood that balances commerce and culture, helping them meet ESG commitments. Tenants include global provider of DaaS and SaaS solutions for automotive companies Info Media, fourth-party innovative logistics company EFM Logistics, environmentally conscious beauty manufacturer of 45 top bath and body retail brands worldwide Hunter Amenities, flower delivery specialists LVLY, sustainably sourced and recycled materials anti-fast fashion brand Dakota 501 and Smart Paddock.

According to Jankie, commercial tenants are more conscious of the environments they put their businesses and employees into, to maximise efficiency and stay true to core values.

“As a result, Morris Moor is in high demand. Building 4, level 1, with over 12,500 m2 NLA, is slated to open by year’s end. With over 64% precommitted there are lots of excited tenants coming in and limited space remaining,” Jankie said.

Morris Moor is set to play a vital role in revitalising buildings in Melbourne’s middle-ring neighbourhoods in premium locations that will serve the community for years to come.

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