Places Vic to abandon Docklands

Troubled developer Places Victoria is abandoning its headquarters in the premium Goods Shed North project in Docklands to help reverse its poor financial position.

Troubled developer Places Victoria is abandoning its headquarters in the premium Goods Shed North project in Docklands to help reverse its poor financial position.

The move follows widespread cost-cutting at the state government entity, which has slashed its workforce by more than half and is expected to begin selling some of its land holdings.

Places Victoria is planning to sublease the 6000 square metres it occupies in the historic former railway shed, leaving the space just over three years into its 15-year lease.

The group, back when it was named VicUrban, sold the decrepit building to Grollo family company Equiset for $3.72 million in 2008.

The developer undertook a $63 million refurbishment of the 1889 shed between Collins and Bourke streets, which involved restoring the facade and creating about 11,400 sq m of office and retail space.

The Building Commission, Plumbing Industry Commission and Places Victoria became the main tenants of the award-winning five-star Green Star project. Rents are estimated at $380 per sq m.

Jones Lang LaSalle has been appointed leasing agent for the Places Victoria space. "This opportunity is rare for the Melbourne CBD and is likely to attract tenants seeking the benefits of funky, collaborative space that enables greater connectivity over a large floor plate," said Victorian head of office leasing Stuart Colquhoun.

Industry sources say Places Victoria will likely relocate to a space around 500 sq m in an older building in the city. The sublease is the latest in a series of measures the developer has taken to stem the $18.8 million loss it reported in the 2011-12 financial year, which came on the back of sharp write-downs in its property portfolio.

Staff numbers, including several senior positions, have been cut from 188 to 70 since November last year.

Places Victoria did not respond to a request for comment.

cvedelago@theage.com.au Twitter: @chrisvedelago

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