University signs major post-pandemic office lease deal

The 10,516 square metre lease deal is one of Melbourne’s biggest post COVID.

Scape has secured a tenant for an office beside its 48 storey Scape Franklin student accommodation tower – both completed in late 2021.

In one of the city’s largest office lease deals post-pandemic, RMIT Training has taken the lot – 10,516 square metres over nine levels – for an initial 15 years.

RMIT Training’s outgoing base was bought in 2020 by Futuro Capital.

The landlord will now fit out the tenancy known as 97-99 Franklin Street with co-work areas, art studios, wet laboratories and student well-being lounges.

An arm of RMIT University, RMIT Training will offer English language and Foundation Studies pathways there.

Occupancy is scheduled in August.

The department will relocate from 235-251 Bourke St, also known as ‘Building 108’, which sold in 2020 to Futuro Capital.

Unique deal: landlord

Including 812 student dwellings with 940 beds, 139 short stay apartments, ground floor shops and the A-grade office, the Scape asset covering 97-105 Franklin St is speculated to carry a $500m-plus value.

Scape paid $56m in 2016 for the 2000 square metre plot which made way for the parcel; it was previously held by Artemis Hotel Group and earmarked for a guesthouse, and before that, a 62 storey residential building with over 500 dwellings but no car parks.

“Scape Franklin will be the first building in Australia shared between a university and purpose-built student accommodation provider, offering a unique live and learn opportunity,” Scape Australia founder and managing director, Stephen Gaitanos, said.

“We are thrilled to work closely with RMIT Training to co-create this new environment,” he added.

“Purpose built student accommodation provides a more wholistic living environment for students so the more opportunities we can co-create with education partners to support their students to succeed while they’re studying, the better,” according to the executive.

RMIT Training’s pathway initiative leads to courses in architecture and design, health and psychology (story continues below).

Part of RMIT’s city campus at the corner of A’Beckett and Swanston streets.

“The nature of RMIT Training’s pathway courses is that students are enroute to the next chapter in their education journey, their next degree or to their next dream course,” Mr Gaitanos said.

“Being set up for success with an enhanced support offering and further opportunities for focus is crucial to their success,” he added.

Live and learn

The Franklin St office building also includes end of trip facilities.

RMIT Training has already branded it.

“The new campus location would provide a one-of-a-kind offering for students in Melbourne by housing industry-leading learning and student accommodation facilities in one secure location,” RMIT Training chief executive officer, Jake Heinrich, said.

“Our new building provides contemporary purpose-built facilities, accommodation and security bundled into a vibrant location in the heart of the CBD with all it has to offer,” he added.

Some 30pc of international students at RMIT University come through RMIT Training, according to the executive.

“The new location’s close proximity to RMIT University’s city campus allows students even greater connectivity with the university precinct and community,” he said.

“As well as access to world class teaching, learning and accommodation facilities, students can enjoy all the benefits of having the main campus, basketball courts, public transport and Queen Victoria Market right on their doorstep,” he added.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of