New GPO tower to be a green leader, first for SA

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By Lana Guineay

One of Adelaide’s most iconic landmarks, the GPO Exchange building, is setting new benchmarks in sustainability and smart technology for city office towers, according to investment giant Charter Hall.

The GPO precinct is undergoing a $250m redevelopment on track to be completed by September 2019, and includes a 22-storey, state-of-the-art office space housing the headquarters of mining giant BHP.

Standing at 82-metres high, the GPO tower will feature a new ground floor foyer, 71 car parks, retail outlets, and a laneway precinct; while the heritage-listed Telephone Exchange will be refurbished as boutique office and retail space.

An artist’s impression of the GPO’s latest evolution in 2019.

Architects Hassell and Fitzpatrick & Partners designed the project, and construction began late last year.

Charter Hall is behind the construction of the building, set to become the first in SA to target combined Gold WELL and Green Star ratings, showing a commitment to environmental sustainability and a healthy working environment.

The GPO Exchange project is aiming for six Green Stars – the highest possible rating – which would place it among the most sustainable buildings in the world.

The Green Star rating looks at the sustainability of the overall design, construction and operation of buildings, fit outs and communities, at all stages of the built environment lifecycle.

An artist’s impression of the new space. Courtesy GPO Exchange.

The WELL certification is a building standard focused exclusively on human health and wellness, and includes a range of criteria from air quality to natural light and opportunities for physical activity.

Charter Hall’s regional development director Simon Stockfeld says the GPO Exchange development will be a first for Adelaide.

“Adelaide has not seen this type of development before – it is the next generation of building, designed to meet the needs of the workplace in the future,” he says.

“The building is also redefining the modern workplace by providing exceptional tenant customer experiences with amenities such as hotel quality end-of-trip facilities, executive concierge service, wellness initiatives and light-filled open-plan workspaces.”

Artist impression of a proposed 16-storey hotel and retail tower on the GPO site on the corner of King William and Franklin streets. Courtesy GPO Exchange.

Simon says the building will retain its historical significance.

“No stone has been left unturned in the planning for this development and we are acutely aware of how integral the site has been in Adelaide’s development as a major capital city,” he says.

“The cutting edge technology and sustainable design will be present through all areas of the development,” he says.

“From electric vehicle charging stations to the use of smartphones in place of swipe cards, this development will set a new benchmark in Adelaide and will hopefully be a benchmark for future developments to meet.”

The original GPO building was built in 1872 at a cost of more than £55,000.

The GPO as it looked in 1880. Photo courtesy State Library of SA, B 62414/1/32

It was the most expensive building constructed by the Colonial Government in South Australia at the time, and remained the city’s tallest building into the 20th century.

From its earliest days the GPO was a high tech hub, including the state’s first telephone exchange.

Simon says the building’s new chapter has been designed for the future and will be “integrated, adaptable and intelligent”.

“The office tower is a smart building supporting smart tenancies, which leads to operational efficiences and cost saving for tenants and the office spaces have been designed to help tenants secure and retain the best talent and increase productivity,” he says.

“We have also considered the local community and how the building integrates with the broader precinct.

“By integrating ground floor retail in the Telephone Exchange building, we’re activating the space beyond the 9-5 workday to create a vibrant precinct in the heart of the CBD.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

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