Birkenstock’s sustainable shoe boxes

The headquarters for German shoe company Birkenstock “ticks all the boxes” in terms of sustainability.
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There’s a substantial amount of recycling and green principles are adopted throughout.

Materials such as timber were sourced from local plantations.

“We see our practice as both contemporary and sustainable. We couldn’t provide one of these without the other,” says architect Marc Bernstein, director of Melbourne Design Studio (MDS).

The design won an architecture award in the category of sustainable architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter).

From the street, the Birkenstock Headquarters in Queens Parade Clifton Hill appears not dissimilar to other large stores selling shoes, with front-of-house simply decked out with trestle-style tables of shoes.

However, great design isn’t always obvious at first glance. Let’s start with the front fa??ade.

The previous shop front, added in the 1950s, has been replaced by two sets of glazing on either side of the front door.

Rather than the usual single glassed fa??ade, MDS created two wind-locked chambers that can respond to the season.

Hermetically sealed during the colder months of the year, this glazing system that contains the shop’s front window displays can be opened almost like a veranda.

One of these double-sided systems even includes a patch of grass, almost suburban with the weeds proudly displayed.

“Our ideas were partially informed by our approach to sustainability, but they also reflect Birkenstock’s philosophy, with our clients using the words ‘craftsmanship’, ‘quality’, ‘health’ and ‘slow fashion’ from the outset,” says Bernstein.

As well as exposing the building’s past and revealing the original brick walls, MDS inserted a fascinating glass-topped channel in the timber floors.

Old bottles discovered during the renovation are beautifully arranged, as are children’s lasts, tape measures, ticks and tacks.

There’s also a range of shoes from Birkenstock, forming almost a “timeline” of the company’s designs.

One of the criteria initially given to the architects was to create a domestic feel to the store.

As well as the patch of lawn as part of the shop front, there’s an open fireplace and a galley-style kitchen where clients are served tea.

“It was also important to create connections to the various ‘arms’ within the headquarters,” says Bernstein, pointing out the workshop at the rear of the building, beyond the courtyard (an entirely new building), as well as the warehouse and showroom for retail clients.

“All staff walk through the front door but head off along the different paths,” he adds. As Birkenstock has a philosophy of repairing customers’ shoes, having an accessible and visible workshop in sight was paramount.

The workshop has a slightly Japanese-feel, with recycled sugar gum timber battens forming a sliding screen on the outside.

“The screen can be pulled back on warmer days or ‘closed down’ during more inclement weather,” says Bernstein.

One of the magical design features is the black steel spiral staircase that leads to the main open plan office space on the top level.

Simply juxtaposed to the raw red brick rear fa??ade and new steel-framed windows, it’s been “pierced” with the word “Birkenstock”.

“Everything that’s new has been crafted in black steel so there’s a clear delineation between the past and the present,” says Bernstein.

The office at the top of the building comes with its own terrace, offering impressive views of Melbourne’s skyline.

The staff kitchen, leading the terrace has been as thoughtfully considered, with recycled bamboo used for the kitchen joinery and plywood.

The kitchen’s splashback, a scene taken from the village in Germany where Birkenstock began its global journey, adds a quirky touch.

Birkenstock Headquarters doesn’t scream for attention from the street. However, even if you don’t come to get your Birkenstocks mended in the workshop, take the time to traverse the courtyard!

It’s certainly worth each of the handmade stiches!

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Sydney buyers look south

A wave of Sydney investors in the Melbourne apartment market is tipped to strengthen in the next few months.
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Lower prices and higher immigration levels are the lures for Sydney buyers put off by the harbour city’s more expensive entry points.

Conversely Melbourne investors are increasingly discouraged by new stamp duty regulations which remove discounts for non-home buyers.

The shift comes as Urbis’ apartment report showed a 40 per cent decrease in apartment sales across Australia in the June 2017 quarter.

The weighted average cost of an apartment in Sydney rose significantly to $1.15 million – up 13 per cent or $151,000 – whereas prices for inner Melbourne fell by $51,000 to $655,686 thanks to a surge in sales of one-bedroom flats.

Urbis national director of property economics and research Clinton Ostwald said the price of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment rose by $200,000.

“Obviously the Sydney market is extremely competitive, and that translates to the apartment market,” Mr Ostwald said.

Gurner managing director Tim Gurner said buyers from Sydney “are definitely coming and I think they are coming in great numbers”.

They make up between 25 and 30 per cent of the investor pool he’s dealing with, Mr Gurner said.

“I don’t think it’s as much as it could be, given Melbourne is so affordable,” he said.

“Melbourne investors are slowing down because of the stamp duty changes but it’s not putting off Sydney buyers because they are already used to higher prices.”

Evolve Development managing director Ashley Williams said: “We’ve been seeing it for the past 12 to 18 months.

“The Sydney market has really taken off and prices have jumped quite significantly. People are looking for more affordable product and they like what Melbourne has to offer.

“We’re seeing enquiry for Melbourne projects especially from investors who like the price point in Melbourne,” he said.

“And also in the house and land market. You can get into a Melbourne project for under $500,000 where the same property in Sydney will set you back $700,00-$800,000,” he said.

Investors are attracted to Victoria’s buoyant economy and population growth. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Victoria accounted for 33 per cent of new jobs compared with 20 per cent in Sydney; interstate migration is strong and Victoria’s residential vacancy rate is just 1.7 per cent.

“We’re seeing an investment migration. There’s an opportunity to buy apartments and houses in Melbourne for significantly less than what one would expect to pay in Sydney,” he said.

Evolve is now pitching its new Botanic project in Coventry Street, South Melbourne to Sydney investors. One-bedroom apartment prices start at around $425,000 and two-bedders at $655,000.

Colliers residential sales agent Tim Storey said there are two key drivers behind the shift to Melbourne.

“Sydneysiders look to Melbourne because of two things. Firstly, the position. Sydney buyers would be paying at least 2.5 times minimum for a comparative product,” Mr Storey said.

“Secondly, we are finding the typical return for a one bedroom in Sydney is very similar in price per week rent but 2.5 times the price paid. Yields are drastically lower in Sydney,” he said.

Growland chief executive Ronald Chan said regulatory changes have also put off foreign buyers and his group is starting to focus on the owner-occupier market.

“Interest from foreign buyers is slowing due to regulatory changes, so the market has adapted to meet the preferences of the local owner-occupier market which is quickly gaining in strength,” Mr Chan said.

Growland has brought forward the launch of its second building at the $600 million, six-tower Victoria Square project in Footscray in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

About 90 per cent of the first tower has sold in four months.

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Battle for our footpaths: Nationals senator pushes for scooter speed clampdown

Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 20 March 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Does 10km/h make you a speed freak? A crusading politician says it does when you are travelling on a footpath.
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The humble mobility scooter spells freedom for the elderly and people with disabilities. But it is also at the centre of an unlikely new battle, with Nationals senator John “Wacka” Williams backing new speed limits for the vehicles.

The NSW National wants tougher regulations after his wife, Nancy Capel, was hit by a speeding “gopher” last year and forced to have a hip operation.

But for Barbara Lund, an 89-year old resident of an aged-care facility in Canberra’s Red Hill, her mobility scooter represents a lifeline, offering independence she would be otherwise denied.

Ms Lund has been using the vehicle for four years, mainly to get to the shops, and believes it is a godsend for the elderly and people with disabilities.

“Mostly I value the independence. I had to give up my car and I miss that terribly,” Ms Lund said.

What is now a multi-billion dollar industry began in 1968 in a Michigan garage. To help a family member with multiple sclerosis, plumber Alan R. Thieme spent countless evenings developing a motorised cart. The result was the Amigo, which travelled at 5-6km/h.

And that is as fast as they should be allowed to go, according to Senator Williams, who at the Nationals federal conference in Canberra this weekend will ask colleagues to back a proposal for a 6km/h speed limit. He also wants a ban on scooters weighing more than 150 kilograms.

Currently, mobility scooters in Australia have a compulsory top speed of 10km/h, lower than the 12km/h limit imposed in Britain, and they come with a switch that can reduce their maximum speed in high-traffic pedestrian areas.

In most Australian states and territories, mobility scooter users do not require a licence, registration or third party insurance. But dozens of injuries and even deaths have been linked to the personal vehicles over recent years.

“They are a tremendous assistance for those who are frail or immobile, but we have got to have safe footpaths as well,” Senator Williams said.

“Here’s the problem. Someone elderly fails their licence test because they are viewed as a dangerous driver. They surrender their car. They go and buy a mobility scooter. You’re a danger to the public if you drive a car down a road but you’re not a danger if you drive a scooter down a footpath?”

But his latest campaign – which follows a push for on-the-spot fines and registration schemes – has been met with fierce opposition from one leading Australian scooter business.

“Nationals senator John Williams makes claims he knows nothing about if … his attitudes to mobility scooters is anything to go by,” Peter Fraser, the managing director of Scooters Australia, said.

Mr Fraser blasted the senator’s claims about mobility scooter standards overseas as “complete rubbish”.

“Just because Senator Williams’ wife was injured in a mobility scooter accident is no reason to change the law to suit one politician,” Mr Fraser said.

Senator Williams was scathing of that view.

“All I know is I don’t want what happened to my wife happening to anyone else,” he said.

Ms Lund did not see the need for more rules, saying people are already told not to carry passengers or go on roads.

“Provided people stick to the rules, I can’t see there’s any danger at all.”

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The battle over same-sex marriage in Australia hits the streets

Late on Wednesday night, while the High Court mulled over the marriage postal survey, Canberra hacks imbibed at their usual haunt in Manuka. Buoyed by liquor, the verdict was already in: not a single Labor staffer believed the challenge would succeed, and almost every Liberal (they were all moderates) hoped it would.
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The plan B that no one really wanted has now come to fruition. And its outcome is impossible to predict, in large part because this survey is voluntary, and will present campaigners with a question unprecedented in Australian political history: how do you get out the vote?

At 91 per cent, turnout at last year’s federal election was the lowest since compulsory voting was introduced in 1925. That reflects a worldwide trend, according to the Australian Election Commission, and it’s particularly pronounced among voters under 40.

For decades, researchers at the Australian National University have asked Australians about this matter. In 2016, 80 per cent said they would still vote if it were voluntary – down from 88 per cent in 2007 – and only about three quarters of those would “definitely” vote, while a quarter would “probably”.

That’s in a federal election. No one can say how many people will bother to participate in an optional, mail-in survey on an issue that enjoys broad but not deep support. But there is at least one precedent. In 1997, Australians were asked to elect representatives to a “constitutional convention” on a possible future republic. The participation rate was 46.9 per cent – and only a third of 18- to 25-year-olds voted. The turnout peaked at about 60 per cent for those 55 and over.

“The standard thing around the world with voluntary voting is young people are least likely to vote,” says ABC election analyst Antony Green, who blogged about the figures last month.

That’s a dark background for the “yes” campaign, which is counting on the massive support for same-sex marriage among the young. This is no longer a campaign for hearts and minds – after years of agonising debate inside Parliament and out, most Australians have made up their minds.

As such, the “yes” side has switched gears into a full-blown, US-style “get out the vote” effort. But political hard-heads are openly worried about turnout and apathy. Senior Liberal operative Andrew Bragg, director of the “Libs and Nats for Yes” campaign, says voters need to plan their vote, down to the nitty gritty of what post box they will use.

“Complacency is a major concern,” he says. “A majority for ‘yes’ is no certainty at all, partly because of the manual postal method. Australia is not accustom to ‘get out the vote’ campaigns, and a detailed, tangible voting plan is our best bet.”

Hence the workmanlike television advertisement launched by the Equality Campaign this week, featuring a motley crew of neighbours striding purposefully towards their local post box. Strategists will ask people to turn voting into a shared activity with friends, family and colleagues. And in the City of Sydney, information kiosks will be set up near post boxes to help get ballots in the bag.

“If they don’t, we may not win,” says campaign co-chair Alex Greenwich. “This is certainly an uphill battle for us … this is completely uncharted territory. We will have a lot of work to do in terms of raising awareness.”

Though the campaign will drag on until the November 7 deadline, strategists know most of the action will be early on. They have learnt from the experience of unions, who regularly hold voluntary mail-in ballots, that huge numbers are returned in the first few days. Greenwich expects efforts to crescendo around the weekend of September 23 and 24, by which time most people will have received their forms.

Same-sex marriage opponents have a somewhat different task. On all polling, they start behind, which they have tried to fashion into underdog status. The slogan “it’s OK to say no” is a callout to the alleged silent majority inclined to oppose same-sex marriage but cowed into submission by the elites and polite society.

It is a slogan that appeals to any lingering uneasiness – or queasiness, perhaps – about changing the definition of marriage, and about gay relationships in general. And it has a collateral implication: if it’s OK to say “no”, it’s perfectly fine to abstain and not say “yes”. Minimising the turnout is not a stated goal of opponents, but it would not hurt. They won’t say it publicly, but they know they’re better off in a voluntary postal survey than a compulsory plebiscite.

The “no” campaign is a murkier beast, too. While Australian Christian Lobby director Lyle Shelton appears regularly on TV and radio, campaign HQ would not grant Fairfax Media a phone interview with any spokesperson on Friday. An unnamed operative requested questions be sent by email, which Fairfax Media refused, and then supplied a written response to questions that weren’t asked.

Several big players on the “no” side are current or former Liberal figures. One man who is back in the fray is Tio Faulker, former president of the ACT Liberal Party and ex-aide to senator Zed Seselja. Just weeks ago, Faulkner told Fairfax Media he had been living overseas for seven months and was “no longer employed in the campaign”. On Friday, his name appeared on a Coalition for Marriage mass mailout.

Faulker’s official title is National Director, Field Campaign Operations and Logistics. He said his campaign strategy “is not secret”, but also refused a phone interview. He is joined by Sophie York, a Liberal Party member and failed preselection candidate, and occasional spokeswoman Monica Doumit, a lawyer who runs the Catholic Talk lobby group.

It was Doumit whose words the Coalition for Marriage emailed to Fairfax Media on Friday, with a message strikingly similar to the “yes” campaign. They too said they had been inundated with support this week. They too encouraged all Australians to discuss the issue with family, friends and neighbours. And they too will hold rallies in major cities, like the “yes” rally taking place in Sydney on Sunday.

For many, including most government MPs, the end of this protracted, unorthodox process can’t come soon enough. And the kicker? Come November 15, the result will be announced by the star of the 2016 census debacle, chief statistician David Kalisch.

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Latrell spares Ferguson’s blushes as Roosters stun Broncos

Roosters 24 Broncos 22
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Latrell Mitchell spared Blake Ferguson’s blushes – and his own – engineering a stunning Roosters recovery that has the tricolours on the cusp of their first grand final in four years after a wild win over the Broncos.

Just four minutes after the otherwise outstanding Ferguson bizarrely batted a game-changing Benji Marshall 40-20 attempt back infield, allowing Corey Oates to stroll over for his second try and give Brisbane their first lead of the night, Mitchell’s swerving effort pushed the Roosters to the brink of another decider.

It capped a crazy night at Allianz Stadium after the Roosters – who bolted to a 14-point lead inside the first half hour – scrambled home 24-22 on Friday night to condemn Brisbane to sudden-death football for the rest of September.

The depleted Broncos fought back to take an improbable lead inside the final 10 minutes after tries to Ben Hunt and Oates within two minutes, but Mitchell stood up opposite number James Roberts to have the final say.

The Broncos, perhaps with the help of returning skipper Darius Boyd, will face the winner of the Sea Eagles-Panthers clash at Suncorp Stadium next week in an elimination final.

A stunned Roosters coach Trent Robinson sat partially in disbelief, maybe bewilderment, in his coaching box after Roberts unluckily toed the ball over the dead ball line on the game’s final play without an opponent near him.

It was the fitting end to a bizarre match in which the Roosters looked in complete control minutes before half-time, but conspired to throw away the match thereafter.

Mitchell fumbled the ball and couldn’t re-grip it when on the brink of padding the Roosters’ second-half lead to 14 – and it looked like it would come back to bite him as Hunt kicked for himself and outsprinted Michael Gordon to start a late rally.

Oates’ second, when Ferguson miraculously kept Marshall’s kick in play with not another Rooster in sight, set up a grandstand finish but the Broncos’ lead only lasted four minutes thanks to 20-year-old Mitchell’s heroics.

It was a relief for the hot-and-cold tricolours, but was it enough to put the shudders through red-hot premiership favourites Melbourne? Hardly.

Wayne Bennett braved the cold and forfeited the comfort of the coaching box to park his right-hand men in the stands – and wouldn’t have been warmed by the opening exchanges as his undermanned side struggled to match it with the quick-starting Roosters.

Despite struggling past also-rans in the Tigers and Titans in the last month of the season, the Roosters torched Brisbane in the opening quarter, laying on tries through representative back-rowers Aidan Guerra and Boyd Cordner against a static Broncos defensive line.

Michael Gordon’s penalty goal extended their buffer to 14, but the Jekyll and Hyde Roosters resurfaced in the minutes prior to the break as Marshall’s inch-perfect grubber was grounded by a flying Roberts.

Keary ghosted around the back to slice through off a Mitchell Pearce pass early in the second half, but Oates’ response six minutes later gave the Broncos a lifeline.

Mitchell and Oates spurned opportunities within 60 seconds of each other – the former ever so slightly fumbling and not re-gripping the ball before grounding it while the latter couldn’t scoop up a botched Ferguson catch.

But the drama was only beginning. Hunt and Oates scored head-spinning tries, but Mitchell would have the last say. And didn’t Ferguson thank him for it.

Sydney Roosters 24 (Aidan Guerra, Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Latrell Mitchell tries; Michael Gordon 4 goals) defeated Brisbane Broncos 22 (Corey Oates 2, James Roberts, Ben Hunt tries; Jordan Kahu 3 goals) at Allianz Stadium. Referees: Ben Cummins, Chris Sutton. Crowd: 21,212.

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Gold Coast man receives 3D-printed shinbone in world-first surgery

The world’s first patient to receive a 3D-printed tibia transplant, Reuben Lichter, with his son, William. Photo: AAPSurgeons at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital have performed world-first surgery and transplanted a 3D printed shinbone into the leg of a man who faced losing his leg.
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Two weeks ago, the 3D printed tibia was transplanted into the Reuben Lichter’s right leg.

It was wrapped in leg tissue and blood vessels from both his legs.

It was the first stage in a nine-month journey, at least, to grow new bone in his right shin and allow Mr Lichter, of Mudgeeraba, to support his weight and walk again.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said the successful transplant, led by reconstructive surgeon Michael Wagels, opened the door for the successful transplanting of major bones in trauma accidents throughout Queensland and the world.

Mr Lichter’s right leg had developed a bone infection before Christmas which was slowly destroying his tibia.

The 27-year-old has since endured five major operations in six months to have the 36-centimetre “scaffold” transplanted his shin to effectively save his leg.

Surgeon Dr Michael Wagels and Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick discuss the operation with Reuben Lichter and his son, William. Photo: AAP

Mr Lichter said he instantly grabbed at the chance to be the first to receive the revolutionary surgery.

“They (the surgical team) came to me and said there are two options,” he said at the PA Hospital on Friday morning.

“You can be amputated above the knee, or you can try this experimental stuff that may, or may not work and I said: ‘Bam, Do it’.”

Mr Lichter said he had to take the chance with the 3D surgery.

“It was not frightening at all,” he said.

“If there was a chance for me to save my leg and do the things I want to do with my son, then I was going to take it.

A replica of the 3D-printed tibia that was used in the operation. Photo: AAP

“I wasn’t going to lose my leg without having a fight.”

Those things now include taking his eight-month old son, William, skiing when both are older.

“But in the meantime, it looks like he might walk before me,” he said on Friday.

Fiance Caity Bell, 23, told how William was born two days before his father was taken to hospital in severe pain.

Ms Bell had to bring William home from hospital by herself.

“It was very scary,” she said.

“I was by myself, I was a first-time mum and I’d just had my baby and it was just me at home.”

Mr Dick praised the work of the surgical team.

“This is the first time this surgery has been done anywhere in the world,” he said.

“For me, as the Minister for Health, it is very inspiring to ensure that this world-first surgery happened in Queensland.”

The most recent surgery, about two weeks ago, makes sure there is sufficient blood flow to allow the new bone to grow around the outside of the 3D bone scaffold.

Dr Wagels said the 3D tibia “scaffold” was modelled at Queensland University of Technology, where it was “spun” from a polymer.

It was then “printed” in Singapore and brought back to the PA Hospital for the series of operations.

As the new bone grew around the scaffold, Dr Wagels said, the scaffold would slowly dissolve.

Pus inside Mr Lichter’s infected leg was drained first, then prototypes of the 3D shin scaffold were tested and tweaked in earlier operations before the final version was transplanted, Dr Wagels said.

“We needed to work out where we could get tissue that had the potential to grow bone,” he said.

Experimental biomechanical research using live sheep will be used late in 2017 to assess the pace and strength of bone growth around Mr Lichter’s new shinbone.

“We are not willing to take any chances with Reuben’s leg until that biomechanical testing has been done,” Dr Wagels said.

Mr Lichters’s two tibia bones together provided about half of the necessary tissue.

His left knee provided the rest of the tissue, now beginning to grow around the 3D-printed scaffold.

“So we took that from his opposite knee, which also has a blood supply and that needed to be connected back into the existing blood supply,” Dr Wagels said.

Dr Wagels said there was a good opportunity for ongoing medical research.

The design of medical 3D models is well advanced in Queensland, but the printing stage for internal medical applications – completed in Singapore – needs further refinements.

“We see this operation as an opportunity to make this happen here, locally,” Dr Wagels said.

Mr Lichter has been unable to work since September last year.

The couple planned to start a candle-making business as Mr Lichter recovers well enough to begin walking again.

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CBD tenants have rediscovered Sydney’s North

Having been in the doldrums for many years post the failure of the dot南京夜网 industry, the lower North Shore office sector is coming back to life.
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Conversion of older office towers into residential is also ending, paving the way for new commercial developments that are breathing life into the North Sydney central business district.

It is estimated that more than $500 million worth of office assets have changed hands in North Sydney in the past year as the area comes back onto investors’ radars.

The new metro rail line is also reinvigorating the suburbs along the highway to Chatswood.

The Property Council of Australia’s latest office market report shows the aggregate vacancy rate across all North Shore markets has dropped from 8.1 to 7.9 per cent in the six months to July, largely due to positive demand.

Dexus, Aqualand, Cromwell, Denison and Winton Property are among the many developers that have identified the North Shore as the new office zone outside the Sydney CBD and away from the buzz at Parramatta.

Michael Lochtenberg, director, leasing and development, office leasing at Colliers International, said over recent years the movement in tenants has been generally south from the northern suburbs and Macquarie Park into North Sydney and Sydney CBD, such as Goodman Fielder, Jacobs and Architectus.

???He said this movement was driven by corporates to attract and retain staff with access to amenity. This was greatly facilitated by high vacancy levels and corresponding high incentive levels.

“This movement south continues but appears to be slowing especially when tenants consider the move south extending over the bridge. It appears that the significant rise in rents and drying up of incentives is making tenants have second thoughts before they cross the Harbour Bridge, such as the Nine Network, which is moving to Winton’s 1 Denison Street, North Sydney,” Mr Lochtenberg said.

The rise of the new properties has been a drawcard for tenants such as Vodafone’s new head office at 177 Pacific Highway, while Flight Centre is looking to move from 474 George Street to the North.

The office asset at 116 Miller Street was bought by a private offshore buyer for $134 million and is the largest potential development site in North Sydney at 2304 square metres. It is directly opposite the proposed new Victoria Cross Metro Station.

The sale was negotiated by Knight Frank’s Tyler Talbot, Dominic Ong, Angus Klem and CI Australia’s Bevan Kenny and Chris Veitch who acted for Property Bank Australia, Security Capital Corporation and RG Property.

“Traditionally we would have thought Sydney CBD rents have exceeded rents in North Sydney, but this has not always been the case. But since the advent of the GFC, net face rents in North Sydney have been higher than that found in the city. This was also the case for net effective rents, with an exception of a brief period in the throws of the GST in 2008, soon after the delivery of 100 Arthur Street and the refurbishment of 101 Miller Street, following the vacation of Optus,” Mr Lochtenberg, said.

“We now forecast that the net effective rent spread will move from an approximate city discount of $80 per square metre in March 2014, to a premium of $130 per square metre in March 2020, a $210 per square metre turnaround in a period of six years. The underlying net effective rent for the CBD move from the current rate of $580 per square metre to the forecast peak of $740 per square metre in March 2020, a 28 per cent rise in less than three years from today.”

With talk now subsiding about the creation of a Metro Station in Crows Nest, the focus of local stakeholders seems to have shifted towards the Department of Planning & Environment’s (DP&E) investigation study of the St Leonards/Crows Nest Station precinct.

The DP&E has just released an interim statement outlining a draft vision, objectives and guiding planning principles for the priority precinct.

The area has been broken down into 10 “character areas” with increased densities set to be focused in areas closest to the new Crows Nest Metro Station and St Leonards Train Station.

Tom Appleby, Colliers International’s investment services operator, recently sold a 12-lot commercial strata building in-one-line at 84 Alexander Street. He expects collective sales to be become more prevalent in the area as developers jostle for sites.

“With amalgamations being encouraged by the DP&E to ensure co-ordinated redevelopment, it’s anticipated that the incentives being offered to both freehold and strata-titled property owners in certain areas will be great enough to ensure the process is worthwhile,” Mr Appleby said.

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Frizelle steps down as Titans chair after joining bid to buy club

Rebecca Frizelle has stepped down as the chairperson of the Gold Coast after joining the Darryl Kelly-led consortium attempting to buy the franchise.
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The Titans are now officially up for sale and the NRL is hoping to get the club off its books by November 1. Frizelle and Kelly have stepped down from their roles on the Gold Coast board to ensure there are no conflicts of interest during the sale process, although they will resume their directorships if theirs is the winning bid.

The Central Coast Bears are one of the main rivals attempting to buy the Titans in a move that would result in the club being rebadged as the ‘Bears’ and the occasional NRL game being taken to either North Sydney or the Central Coast. It’s understood there are other interested parties, although their identities remain a well-hidden secret.

The Kelly-Frizelle consortium is the favourite to buy the Titans, with the the chair resigning while the sale process unfolds.

“I took this action to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest once the formal sale process for the club licence commenced this week,” Frizelle said via a statement.

“My family’s private company is part of a consortium that is being led by long-term fellow director and former major shareholder, Darryl Kelly, that will enter the formal bidding process for the sale of the licence.

“As a consequence of this bid, it would not have been appropriate for me or Darryl to continue as directors, nor for me to remain as chair of the club during the sale process.

“It has been an absolute privilege and honour to serve as the chair of this club for the past three-and-a-half years through some very challenging times. The board and management team has worked very hard to stabilise and strengthen the club for the future. We have had to make difficult decisions that were not always popular but were always with the best interests of the club in mind.”

It has been a tumultuous time for the Titans, who have sacked coach Neil Henry with a year remaining on his contract after a well-publicised fallout with Jarryd Hayne. A replacement is yet to be found as the club attempts to re-sign star halfback Ash Taylor before he becomes a free agent.

Frizelle said the Titans would remain based on the Gold Coast “in local hands” if their bid was successful.

“Darryl Kelly and ourselves are prepared to take on the responsibility and financial risk to provide the club and the local community with certainty around a Gold Coast-based franchise that is sustainable for the long term,” she said.

“It is the ultimate intention of our consortium to transition the ownership of the club into a community model where it will be owned by its members. This can only occur once the club is financially independent and self-funding.”

Frizelle’s family business, the Frizelle Automotive Group, is one of the most successful businesses on the holiday strip and has sponsored the Titans for over a decade.

Griffith University’s senior deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Ned Pankhurst, will act as chairman on an interim basis during the sale process.

“If Darryl and I are successful in our bid, we look forward to resuming our positions on the board as owners, to help deliver on the enormous potential of the Titans,” she said.

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Retail tenants putting the heat on landlords

There is a battle royale looming in the retail sector and while its not directly related to Amazon, it comes about because of online shopping.
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The angst is that in amending the Retail Leases Act, which came into effect on July 1, NSW has become the first state to legislate that online revenue be excluded from turnover calculations.

But, as with a lot of legislation, it is not national, yet the country’s biggest retail landlords all operate in every state. Queensland updated its legislation in 2016, though did not address the e-commerce issue, while there is no mention of online revenue in the Victorian Retail Leases Act 2003.

In NSW, the amendment to the Retail Leases Act 1994 says that turnover rent excludes online revenue except where the goods are delivered or provided from the shop, or the transaction takes place while the customer is at the shop.A tenant is not required to provide information to the landlord regarding online transactions except where the goods are delivered or provided from the shop, or the transaction takes place while the customer is at the shop.So, the issue is, as more stores sell online, how do the landlords get a cut of the action and stop the online sales revenue leakage?

Kate Warwick, the senior managing director and head of retail and consumer products and Glen Smith, managing director, real estate advisory, from FTI Consulting said that retail leasing is fraught with conflict. They said the tides were turning in favour of tenants, but they expect landlords won’t take long to react.

On one hand, landlords desire certainty of income and to maximise the value of their investment. On the other, tenants commonly want to minimise their overheads and ensure their rent reflects the performance of the store.

Jacqueline Burns, the managing director of Market Expertise, says a compromise of sorts has seen various forms of turnover rent clauses negotiated into a range of retail leases over the years, in particular for supermarkets, department stores, and larger specialty store networks in shopping centres, whereby the tenant would generally pay a fixed base rent, plus a variable ‘turnover’ rent component directly linked to annual revenue performance.

Traditional turnover rent clauses worked effectively when we all shopped conventionally in-store. There was no disputing a retailer’s turnover and little debate about the definition of the term “turnover”.

However, in an era where we are increasingly shopping online, are turnover clauses still relevant? Many retail landlords will not yet have had the opportunity to address the impact of online sales, particularly for longer term leases, and how they are impacting store revenue and therefore turnover rent payable.

With Amazon soon to arrive in Australia, the amount spent online is poised to increase, especially as Australia’s online sales penetration is lower than similar Western economies, and there will be fierce competition for the traditional in-store shopping dollar.

Ms Warwick and Mr Smith said landlords will now seek to future proof their leases and, for longer leases, and may seek to include provisions that allow for a periodic review of any turnover rent mechanism, to ensure it remains relevant and reflects market conditions through the course of the lease.

“Landlords will become more focused on arresting revenue leakage and will look for ways to attribute online revenue to physical stores. Traditional or ‘all inclusive’ turnover definitions may become a thing of the past. Landlords and tenants will be more focused on defining terms such as turnover, and on expressly negotiating what is and is not included in turnover,” they said.

“Landlords will request that tenants disclose accounting information regarding online transactions in support of turnover calculations. ??? Following NSW, other States and Territories may feel compelled to amend their retail leasing legislation in response to the impacts of new technology and changing consumer purchasing behaviour.”

Ms Warwick said in response to these ongoing changes, landlords will need to consider how they structure their lease agreements. They may ultimately need to reach more sustainable and/or relevant rental structures in an effort to attract and secure new tenants and to ensure existing tenants remain viable at their centres.

“Other landlords will also likely be actively seeking to capture ‘click and collect’ purchases, and online purchases by households within a certain radius of a store, within turnover figures to structure rent and calculate turnover rent provisions,” Ms Warwick said.

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Love Your Sister’s Connie Johnson dies from cancer

Just one day after being awarded one of the highest honours in Australia, Connie Johnson has died of cancer.
Nanjing Night Net

“We lost Connie today”, brother and actor Samuel Johnson announced on Friday night.

“Or, as she asked me to say, she died of cancer today.”

The Canberra mother-of-two was surrounded by family at her hospice bed at Clare Holland House, where she was facing the end of a long battle with breast cancer.

“It was so beautiful,” Samuel said. “We laughed, we cried, we sang stupid songs from our childhood to her.”

“She went so richly, and with such grace. Trust me, she was genuinely cushioned by your love, till the end.”

On Thursday, the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove “cut through the red tape” to award Connie a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her tireless work for those with cancer.

The honour came “just in time”, Samuel said.

“It so nearly didn’t happen,” he told Fairfax Media. “Connie was fading and we weren’t sure she’d be conscious for it.”

It is understood she was to receive the honour at next year’s Australia Day awards, but, with Connie’s time rapidly running out, the ceremony was brought forward.

“The General just came right away, pushed the whole thing forward,” Samuel said. “He made her feel like a million bucks and charmed the socks off the entire family.”

Connie was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2009, after previously defeating a tumour in her leg as a child.

She launched the charity organisation Love Your Sister in 2012 in an effort to raise funds for cancer research. In February 2016, Samuel announced his retirement from acting in order to help focus on Connie’s fundraising efforts.

Together they raised millions for cancer research, including more than $2 million in May when a Canberra netball court became a sea of silver five cent pieces for Connie’s Big Heart Project.

On Thursday night, Samuel described how Connie’s eyes danced “like when we were kids” as the medal was handed down with a little pomp and a lot of laughter in a quiet, bedside ceremony with Sir Peter.

“She looked so alive,” Samuel said. “My heart is complete.”

“Afterwards, she looked at me sideways, coz she can’t move her head too well, and she kept saying, in her weak and raspy voice…’Can you believe it? Can you believe it? Look what we did. We did something!'”

During the ceremony, Sir Peter described Connie as “a determined, inspirational figure and a great Australian”.

Samuel said he even insisted the ceremony end with a kiss.

“The general gave Connie a so sweet peckle on the forehead…It was so special,” he said.

Connie, 40, made the decision to end all treatment in April this year. While her health was initially dire when she first arrived at the hospice in July this year, for a time her condition ???stabilised.

In August, Connie spoke to Fairfax Media of her determination to stay alive for her younger son’s 10th birthday later this month.

“I’ve been told I really suck at retirement,” she said at the time with a smile.

“The memories from the Big Heart Project sustain me every day.

“It’s mind-blowing to know that our community is so strong and I’m part of it. I’m so proud to be a Canberran…It’s real, it’s real.”

In her final days, Connie’s focus had contracted down to her husband Mike and two children, Willoughby and Hamilton.

From her room at Clare Holland House on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin, official secretary to the Governor-General, Mark Fraser, delivered the ceremony citation.

He said Connie’s leadership of the Love Your Sister Village had “done much to encourage other Australian women to undergo regular screening” and raised vital funds for cancer research.

“She’s become one of this nation’s foremost advocates of the importance of early detection, and the need to find a cure.

“…She’s achieved in a few short years what most people could only hope to achieve in a lifetime.

“Mrs Johnson’s efforts for our community will endure and make her most deserving of our nation’s gratitude and admiration.”

Samuel said, while the accolades didn’t ultimately matter, the honour validated the efforts of Connie, and “our half million strong village” to vanquish cancer.

On Friday night, those “villagers” flooded Connie’s online tribute wall to pay their respects to the driving force of Love Your Sister. .

Samuel led the charge, writing: “Thanks for everything, Connie Cottonsocks. It was my pleasure to be your Sammy Seal.”

The Johnson family has encouraged supporters to leave a message on Connie’s tribute wall at loveforconnie.org419论坛

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.