Builder Grocon is constructing the $1 billion tower for developer Austcorp Group Limited, with more than 400 apartments and 28,000 square metres of office space.
It also has a civic and retail plaza over three levels and Brisbane’s first observation deck, providing a major new tourist attraction for the city.
Grocon CEO Daniel Grollo and Austcorp CEO Trevor Chappell, who’ve recently signed the final construction contract for the project, were on site to welcome Mr Lucas.
Mr Grollo said workers had been busy for several months, preparing to excavate for the seven level basement car park.
“Obviously we have to go down before we can go up – but works are on schedule and by mid year, we should have around 140 employees at Vision, eventually going up to around 500 by mid 2010,” he said.
“This is a very exciting project for Grocon and the building will ultimately be an iconic architectural achievement for Brisbane. Our extensive experience with tall buildings from Eureka in Melbourne to several towers in Dubai, will be used on the Vision site.”
Mr Grollo said Grocon had established its Vision site office in Brisbane early in 2006 and was also now working on two sites on the Gold Coast. He said a Grocon corporate office is currently being established in Brisbane.
“Our expansion into Queensland has come at a very exciting time, with huge investment in infrastructure in the state and a steady growth in population,” he said.
Austcorp CEO Trevor Chappell said the mixed use Vision development comprising residential, commercial, retail and tourism space would rise 287 metres, and enjoy extensive views over the Brisbane River and the Botanical Gardens.
A defining character of Vision is the people-centric design, with generous public spaces and amenities. The vertical village concept means Vision will function as having several discrete precincts for residential apartment living, offices, retail shops, al fresco dining and lifestyle amenities.
He said the 401 apartments were being built over 55 levels, with more than two thirds – 275 apartments in all – now unconditionally pre-sold for a combined $250 million.
“Vision has been one of the most enthusiastically received apartment towers in Brisbane’s history,” Mr Chappell said. “People are recognising this will be the city’s most beautiful and functional building, and an international signature for the Brisbane skyline.”
Mr Grollo said Grocon would also house the not-for-profit charity Kids Under Cover in its Brisbane corporate office.
“We have worked with Kids Under Cover in Victoria and support the work it does in trying to protect young people at risk of homelessness through building houses and bungalows,” he said.
“As Kids Under Cover moves into Queensland, there are synergies in the work we do and we are glad to offer them a rent-free space.”
Grocon also works with several groups in Melbourne in employing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or exiting the juvenile justice system.
“We also plan to implement that program in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and have met representatives of Challenge Employment and Training and Career Employment Australia with a view to taking on some of their young people later in the year,” Mr Grollo said.
Mr Chappell said Austcorp was strongly committed to Queensland, with major projects underway from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast.
Of the company’s current national portfolio of more than $2 billion in projects, more than half is in Queensland.
“This year marks our 16th anniversary as a property developer and investor in Queensland. The growth of our company has been built on the back of Queensland’s economic strength and prosperity,” he said