GPT Group was founded by Dick Dusseldrop in 1971, and was originally known as the General Property Trust. As the first Property Trust in Australia, it provided a unique investment opportunity for the time, and drew in a number of investors from all walks of life. In the years since, the company has undergone some significant changes – including breaking away from Lend Lease, who originally managed the trust – but has always their original customer-centric values.
Today, GPT is the premier owner and manager of a wide and high quality portfolio of Australian property, including offices, logistics, business parks and prime shopping centre assets. It is also one of Australia’s largest diversified listed property group, with more than 39,000 investors and 15.2 billion dollars of assets under management.
From the start, GPT Group has a been a leader in sustainable property development. Recently, they exemplified that leadership with their award-winning 5 Murray Rose project.
Forming part of the Sydney Olympic Park precinct, 5 Murray Rose is a 12,400 square metre commercial building with over five levels, and possesses a coveted 6 Green Star rating and a 5 Star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy and Water rating. This makes it one of the greenest building developments in not only in Sydney, but the world.
“We’ve always valued sustainability for as long as I’ve been here,” says Andrew Quade, a Development Manager at GPT. “We take the view that it’s important to future-proof our buildings. We develop them and hold them on our balance sheet.We’re not the type of company that gets a tenant and drops the building off into the hands of the buyer – it’s in our best interest to make sure that it’s always efficient.”
The company also values sustainability, Andrew adds, because it sets the company apart.
“We want to create projects that tenants are able to appreciate, and that are different from the rest of the market,” he says. “With 5 Murray Rose, showcasing our strength in sustainable development and creating one of the greenest buildings in the world is how we achieved that difference.”
GPT developed 5 Murray Rose to “world leading practice.” As a result, the project was able to achieve an outstanding environmental result. According to Andrew, the biggest contributor to that result is a 130 kilowatt solar installation on the roof,which will account forover 25 per cent of the base-building’s peak energy load – making it the largest solar-power system in an Australian commercial building of this scale.
“The size of the roof is what made it such a lucrative opportunity,” he explains. “Once we saw that, we just started filling it up with solar panels until it couldn’t fit any more. The contribution it makes is remarkable on a couple of fronts –because it’s the first time it’s ever been done, and because the Green Building Council recognised it as contributing to peak demand.”
In addition, GPT Group designed and built the project to utilise minimal water for irrigation, cooling towers, and toilets. A high emphasis on heat loads also led to extremely efficient shading.
Because of all these industry-leading environmental initiatives, as well as the lifestyle options provided by Sydney Olympic Park,5 Murray Rose did not take long to become a sought after structure. Before the building the was even completed, Lion Group – one of Australia’s leading beverage and food companies –negotiated a 12 year lease for 100 per cent of the building area.
“As a speculative development, we commenced construction on 5 Murray Rose without a tenant having signed up prior,” says Andrew. “It was a calculated risk, and it came through for us with Lion Group, who shared a lot of our passions for sustainable developments. It was a really good outcome for both of us.”
The incredible sustainability outcomes by5 Murray Rose also won GPT Group attention at the 2014 Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Awards – where the project was commended for itsgreen ambitions, and was named the winner of the Sustainable Development category.
“We have a whole team that took a strong collaborative approach,” says Andrew. “A lot of people were involved in making 5 Murray Rose a reality. To get that kind of recognition validates all the hard work that everyone put into it. A lot of the people who worked on it have since moved on to other projects, but that pride carries on into new things.”
The 5 Murray Rose development is actually only the first stage of GPT’s $200 million Murray Rose Business Park, with the building itself valued at about $63.6 million.Themasterplan for the whole site includes a total 42,700 square metres of campus style business and retail accommodation. This project is the first speculative business park of this scale outside the Sydney CBD, and therest of it is designed to achieve the same remarkable sustainability outcomes.
As GPT moves forward on that business, Andrew says the results they achieved with 5 Murray Rose will be remembered. “I think it has the proven capability to be a leader in what can be achieved in commercial building,” he says.
“It is also a ground-breaker in solar building, and it’s a real benchmark moving forward,” he concludes. “We plan to take that learning to future developments. It was even such a breakthrough that the building is currently being studied as a research piece to see what real outcomes we can get out of solar power.I think it’s truly the right legacy we want to leave. It’s something that not only us, but the whole industry can continue to aspire to.”