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Bendigo Bank head office plans unveiled

2 June 2004 |Media centre

Bendigo Bank today released concept plans for its $70 million head office complex, to be constructed during the next two years over two years.

Bendigo Bank’s existing Charing Cross head office will remain and the new building will begin at the former current Lyric building and extend along Bath Lane to Edwards Street.

In lodging a planning application with the City of Greater Bendigo this week, the bank acknowledged there were a number of processes to complete, including completing negotiations with current tenants.

One of the biggest building projects of its kind in Bendigo’s history, the head office complex will consist of a three-staged building comprising the current Fountain Court building and two new buildings, all three linked by ‘skywalks’.

The new buildings will feature state-of-the art ecologically sustainable building initiatives and principles including large atriums to ensure natural light filters to all work stations, flow through ventilation to reduce the use of air conditioning and external blinds to block out 90 per cent of heat.

Managing Director Rob Hunt said the 15,000 square metre head office development will set a benchmark for future developments in this city, setting a new level for future buildings.

“This development will send a strong message that regional cities have the capability to develop and sustain significant office developments, on a par with Australia’s capital cities.

“This is a vote of confidence in the future of Bendigo.

“The building will make a strong statement about running a top hundred business in a regional city and the strategic advantage that this gives our company and we believe our city.

“This is a major commitment to Bendigo and one which confirms the city’s status as a major financial centre and as a prosperous and vibrant city to live and work in.”

The five-storey development is being designed by joint venture architectural firms Bligh Voller Nield and Gray Puksand.

The complex will include office space to accommodate the 600 existing Bendigo Bank head office employees with the capacity to house up to 1000 staff, retail stores and cafes and 2200 almost 3,500 square metres of public space, including a boardwalk across a nearby section of the Bendigo Creek.

“We expect to quickly fill the head office given our current growth rates.” Mr Hunt said.

One of the key features of the design has been to create linkages within the central business district to portray a sense of openness and transparency, from High Street through to Bath Lane, the new Department of Human Services complex, the Bendigo Marketplace and across to Hargreaves Mall.

“One of our aims has always been to create an impressive gateway leading into the centre of Bendigo and to make a statement about the prosperity and vibrancy in our city.

“It was always going to be important to develop a building that makes a statement about our city but that does not dominate the cityscape and does not represent a ‘bank vault’.”

“The building will provide linkages within the cbd CBD and significant public space for our community.”

During the 18-month planning process, Bendigo Bank has worked closely with key stakeholders including Bath Lane and Fountain Court traders, the City of Greater Bendigo and Victorian Government.

Facing onto Bath Lane, the building will be feature several sections which will be “stepped back” at certain points to retain the flow of natural light into the precinct. Plans have also made allowances for wider footpaths in Bath Lane.

Car parking has deliberately been planned for the south end of Bath Lane, encouraging Bendigo Bank staff to walk along Bath Lane and past retail stores and cafes, creating a sense of community within the precinct.

“We are conscious of the fact that this will be a two-year project and there are bound to be some challenges as the building is constructed,” Mr Hunt said.

“We are committed to keep any disruption to a minimum and will continue to work with local traders to ensure the community understands that it will be ‘business as usual’ within the precinct during the construction phase. “There are still some unresolved issues which we acknowledge and which we are currently working through with individual tenants, council and government.

“However it’s important to keep in mind the end result – a state-of-the-art office, retail and public complex which will really make a statement about our city,” Mr Hunt said.

Bank spokesman Owen Davies said the bank was working with long-term tenant Fernwood Womens Health Club to source new inner city premises for its gymnasium.

“We are acutely conscious that Fernwood has long-term commitments to its members and we are confident we will find a solution Fernwood members they will be happy with.”

Work on the bank’s head office complex is planned to begin at the site in early 2005 and the project will take almost two years to complete.


A new vision – Bendigo Bank’s new home

The aim of the complex is to create a development that refocuses the commercial hub of the city and draws people into the centre of Bendigo.

The $70 million complex will feature state-of-the-art design features and ecological sustainable principles.
The building
15,000 sq m (compared with 3000 in Fountain Court)
Three-staged building comprising the current Fountain Court and two new buildings.
All three buildings to be linked by “skywalks”
The central building will be ground floor plus three levels and will incorporate the only entrance to Head Office in a wintergarden setting.
The southern building, which will extend to Edwards Street, will have retail and parking on the ground floor, a carpark above, and then three levels of offices with a fourth office level stepped back and covering about half the roof area of the main building below.
Floor to ceiling glass will create transparency.
Building features

Large atriums allow light in to all floors and allow staff to see “through” the building to the sky. Natural light to all work stations.
Narrow floorplates (work spaces) that snake around atriums.
External ‘second skin’ incorporating external blinds to screen out up to 90 per cent of heat (compared with 10 per cent for internal blinds) but allow light in, reducing the need for air-conditioning but retaining light penetration.
External screens will be colored and help the building appear as a series of interesting shapes rather than a large block.
Louvres which can be opened to provide flow-through ventilation and fresh air, reducing air-conditioning load.
Internal central staircases to connect floors and promote staff interaction.
Staff amenities including showers and change rooms to promote walking/cycling to work.
Precinct features
Two new open-air laneways will connect Bath Lane and High Street.
A new piazza near where the Lyric building currently fronts High Street.
Bendigo Creek behind the City Family will be timber-decked in “wharf” style to create a pedestrian link and outdoor café area.
Central “wintergarden” will create an intimate meeting place.
New buildings “stepped” away from Bath Lane to ensure the lane continues to receive natural light.
Retail space to increase from 4,130 sq m to 4,470 sq m.

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