The Commonwealth Bank is closing three Sydney sites and moving 10,000 staff to Redfern

Photo: supplied.

News that the NSW government-owned Australian Technology Park on the edge of Sydney’s CBD had been sold to a consortium led by developer Mirvac Group led to an equally surprising announcement from the Commonwealth Bank this afternoon.

The CBA plans to create its biggest single workplace there in 2020.

To do that, the bank will close three existing workplaces around the Sydney Basin – at Parramatta, Homebush’s Olympic Park and Lidcombe – moving 10,000 staff to the new building in the inner city suburb of Redfern. The bank will lease the new site to 2035.

The Commonwealth threw its weight behind the Mirvac bid, while Australian tech giant Atlassian, which earlier this week filed its IPO documents for a Nasdaq listing, was part of a consortium with the Walker Corporation pushed hard to ensure the 14.5 hectare site remained tech focussed amid fears that residential development could dominate any redevelopment.

In something of a win for Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, who drove a public lobbying campaign to save the ATP, when NSW planning minister Robert Stokes announced the sale to Mirvac on Thursday afternoon, he specifically ruled out residential development on the site.

While the price paid by Mirvac is undisclosed, it’s believed to be in excess of $200 million. The government plans to use the money for infrastructure in the Central-to-Eveleigh corridor. Coincidentally, the corridor project is being driven by the NSW Government’s transformation agency, Urban Growth NSW, whose board members include Mirvac Group co-founder Robert Hamilton, who retired from the business a decade ago.

On top of 93,000sqm of floor space for the CBA, Mirvac is planning to develop 75,000sqm for technology and will restore and repurpose the former locomotive workshop at Eveleigh as a technology and innovation users and startups. The precinct will also features sports facilities, open spaces, retail, and cafés, bars and restaurants.

Here’s the statement released by the Commonwealth on its deal with Mirvac.

The Commonwealth Bank today announced it will become the anchor tenant at Australian Technology Park, following a successful bid by a Mirvac Group-led consortium to acquire and redevelop the site. Planned for completion in 2020, the Commonwealth Bank will lease 93,000 square metres of office space across two state-of-the-art buildings on a 15 year term.

David Craig, Chief Financial Officer, said, “Securing this innovative office campus reflects our continued commitment to investing in leading workplaces for our people and ensuring we have world-class solutions to support future workplace needs.

“This is a major milestone for the Commonwealth Bank, not only will our new campus feature the very latest in innovative workplace design and technology, it will also house 10,000 of our people – the largest number of employees we’ve ever been able to accommodate in a single site.

“Our ongoing goal is to have highly motivated people who put the customer at the centre of everything we do, as we make the organisation more productive and continue to drive innovation.
“Moving to the transformed Australian Technology Park will put 10,000 of our people in the heart of a growing technology hub, providing us with a significant opportunity to partner and collaborate with universities, start-ups and other innovative companies.

“In addition, the proximity of Australian Technology Park to our existing Sydney CBD offices will allow for better integration with these locations and enhance collaboration by bringing our people closer together,” said Mr Craig.

Commonwealth Bank will also partner with Mirvac and Centuria to establish a Tech Incubation Fund to further enable and encourage the use of the Australian Technology Park precinct as a technology and innovation hub.

As a result of leasing this new office space at Australian Technology Park (ATP), the Commonwealth Bank will not renew leases at existing offices in Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park or Lidcombe. The Commonwealth Bank will exit these locations as leases near expiry and consolidate our Sydney workforce at our new CBD fringe campus (Australian Technology Park) and Sydney CBD precinct (Darling Park, Commonwealth Bank Place and Darling Square) by 2020.

ATP will be designed to achieve 5 Star NABERS Energy and 6 Star Green Star (V3) As Built ratings, to maximise energy and water efficiency, and to create a healthier working environment. In addition to the campus style and activity based working space, the redeveloped ATP precinct will feature world-class amenities including sporting facilities, open spaces, specialty retail, child care and a gymnasium plus quality cafés, bars and restaurants that will create a bustling village hub for our people and the local community.