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ACT commercial office property strategy: call for expressions of interest

I am pleased to announce the commencement of work on the ACT Commercial Office Property Strategy. This package of measures, officially announced on 17 November 1997, is designed to stabilise and rejuvenate the ACT's commercial office property market.

A critical element of the package is the market testing of the refurbishment of the Benjamin Offices, provision of new or refurbished accommodation for the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Belconnen, and the demolition of the Cameron Offices.

An advertisement calling for expressions of interest in the sale and redevelopment of the Benjamin and Cameron Offices complex will appear in the Australian Financial Review on Friday 5 December 1997 and the Weekend Australian and the Canberra Times on Saturday 6 December 1997.

The Government is seeking expressions of interest from potential purchasers and developers interested in:

. purchasing the two properties including commitments from existing tenants;

. redeveloping the site[s] to provide modern office accommodation for existing tenants; and

. redeveloping the existing site[s] to provide facilities other than office accommodation in the Belconnen precinct.

Submissions will close in February/March 1998 and a shortlist of companies will then be invited to tender. The tender process will ultimately result in the selection of a preferred purchaser of the properties and the provision of office accommodation for the tenants.

Arrangements to test the saleability, demolition, adaptive re-use, and mothballing, as appropriate, of the other properties included in the property strategy are proceeding.

The ACT Government has shown interest in acquiring a number of the properties concerned and these will be offered for sale to the ACT Government in the first instance.

Other buildings will be removed from stock either via mothballing or adaptive re-use. This will effectively remove up to 70,000 square metres of office space from the local market.

The ACT Commercial Office Property Strategy fulfils the Federal Government's commitment to assist in alleviating some of the unique problems presented by the ACT property market. This strategy will help stabilise office vacancy rates and aid the ACT property industry develop long term plans to provide certainty to the market.

I look forward working with the private sector and the ACT Government to achieve our common objectives for the ACT.

Canberra

Media Contact:

Anna Schulze, 02 6277 7400