Melbourne’s 94 Feet envisions new-age office model with $70m Balaclava project

Melbourne’s 94 Feet envisions new-age office model with $70m Balaclava project

94 Feet's Balaclava office project featuring a rooftop basketball court

Melbourne-based developer 94 Feet, a company with more than $1.2 billion in projects underway in New Zealand, is progressing construction of a new age office project in Melbourne that it says paves the way for commercial developments that blend work, wellbeing and sustainability.

The $70 million six-storey Open Court office project, taking shape at 21-23 William Street at Balaclava in the city’s inner southeast, is said to be the first of its kind for the suburb.

The development will feature a wealth of amenities including a rooftop basketball court, pickleball court, produce garden, EV charging bays and five-star end-of-trip facilities for office tenants.

Dean Rzechta, the managing director of the family-owned 94 Feet, says the project paves the way for a new wave of commercial buildings that engage with the community while improving sustainability and staff wellbeing outcomes for businesses.

“A key driver for the team when designing Open Court was to create a valuable space that undoubtedly serves the community and makes a genuine contribution to the area,” Rzechta says. “There are no commercial buildings of this calibre within Balaclava and surrounds.”

When completed in March next year, Open Court will deliver 6,000sqm of net lettable area with floorplans of between 130sqm and 2500sqm on offer.

Designed by WMK Architecture with interiors by Techn, Open Court’s architecture features exposed steel structures and timbers that capture Balaclava's industrial history and draws inspiration from the urban setting of Brooklyn in New York.

Open Court’s innovative design is aimed at fostering collaboration through flexible co-working areas, an auditorium and the activated communal rooftop that is expected to be utilised for community events.

Tenants will be encouraged to care for a garden plot, with additional community benefits including a partnership with Helping Hoops - a charity that helps disadvantaged children access basketball training opportunities - by providing after-hours access to the rooftop half-court.

The local community will also benefit from large-scale sports-themed artwork by Melbourne-based artist, Kevin Gold, prominently displayed at the rear of the building’s exterior.

Open Court is a small part of a highly active development portfolio by 94 Feet which is currently progressing construction of a $1 billion-plus mixed-use development named Lakeview Te Taumata in Queenstown.

The development will ultimately deliver more than 1,000 apartments, three hotels and extensive commercial space to the New Zealand holiday hotspot over multiple stages.

The company is also currently developing a $250 million mixed-use project, 51 Albert, in Auckland comprising 225-room hotel and 29 luxury apartments across 40 storeys.

Among the major Australian projects planned by 94 Feet is a $100 million residential community for the over-55 market at Yarrawonga on Victoria’s northern border.

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