An interview with Luke Briscoe, Managing Director, Office & Industrial, AMP Capital
When we think about our home, we don’t just think about the space that we’re living in. We pair that with our need to live in a neighborhood that suits our needs and one that is right for our family and stage of life. The right neighborhood is what turns a house into a home and makes us feel part of a community.
Take this concept and now apply it to our working life — why should it be any different?
In choosing a great place to work and do business, staff and the broader business community are now looking for more than just an office space. People are seeking out neighborhoods where they can collaborate, socialize and feel part of the community in which that building belongs. Working in a neighborhood that suits our needs and is right for our lifestyle is what entices us to want to come to work. It also makes us more productive, which ultimately drives improved business outcomes.
The term “placemaking” is thrown around a lot, but according to Cameron Williams, National Director, Colliers International, “Gone are the days of having a coffee shop in the lobby of your building as being adequate. We need to be curating neighborhoods where people feel like they belong, like it’s their home away from home, no matter when they choose to work, shop or socialize.”
The Quay Quarter Sydney development under way by AMP Capital is certainly looking to cater for the modern workforce with an integrated mixed-use ground plane offering service-oriented retail from childcare, gyms, well being, dining and the world’s first “vertical village” commercial tower design. The experience one will have within Quay Quarter Sydney at Quay Quarter Tower will be as if it’s Sydney’s newest neighborhood.
We took some time to speak to Luke Briscoe, managing director of office & industrial at AMP Capital, about the aspirations for this iconic Circular Quay transformation, the importance of catering to the modern workforce and the approach the team takes to meeting the needs of customers across their portfolio of more than 50 assets across the country.
What is the vision for Quay Quarter Sydney?
Luke Briscoe: The transformation of two city blocks on Sydney’s famous Circular Quay offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for AMP Capital to create a vibrant new neighborhood for the Sydney community and our customers. With bustling retail, activated streets and laneways, the neighborhood will complement one of the world’s most exciting customer centric workplaces, Quay Quarter Tower.
Quay Quarter Sydney has been conceived as a social catalyst, an incubator for business and human interaction, and we genuinely see it playing a critical role in securing the best talent and connecting people and communities in this global city.
What are the benefits of the Quay Quarter Sydney transformation to customers, owners and AMP Capital?
This development is the ideal opportunity for AMP Capital to showcase our real estate purpose in action — ‘to create exceptional real estate experiences’.
Quay Quarter will not only provide exceptional experiences for the customers who use the building and precinct each and every day, but also for our investors, who own an investment that truly supports business leadership, provides sustainable performance and transforms the way we think about work.
Our customers choose to partner with owners that understand their needs and genuinely want to meet these changing needs. As a result, managers that consistently deliver exceptional real estate experiences for customers are the ones that outperform, securing long-term investment performance for investors, now and into the future. This customer focus is an integral part of how we ensure success at AMP Capital.
For the people at AMP Capital involved in this exciting development, we feel part of a reinvention. We can physically see an opportunity to make our mark on this wonderful city and build a lasting legacy for future generations. It is what inspires us each day.
How are the expectations of businesses and their workforce changing?
There are now many different generations in the workplace, all with diverse requirements. At the same time, different work spaces inspire people in different ways. But no matter what the work space looks like, it must be designed to drive productivity and a collaborative culture, and assist in the attraction and retention of talent.
It’s important to understand different fitouts suit different work environments: open plan, design thinking labs, closed offices, quiet and green spaces and wellness areas all have a home within a corporate fitout.
So, when businesses design fitouts, it’s important to ensure there’s an appropriate balance between different types of spaces. For instance, the finance team will have different accommodation requirements to the sales team, and businesses and buildings need to cater to all team members.
As the technological revolution and demographic changes have gathered pace, savvy fund and property managers have focused on understanding customers’ changing needs, what’s impacting their industries and workforce and how their business model is evolving.
How is AMP Capital addressing these changing needs broadly and through the QQS development?
At AMP Capital we take a customer-led approach to designing the office environment to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers and the future workforce.
By using qualitative and quantitative research we will create environments that support collaboration, drawing on feedback from employees working across our customers’ operations to inform how the workspace is designed.
This focus allows us to create productive work environments that attract profitable, growing businesses as customers. Importantly, it also ensures office buildings, industrial facilities and retail environments are flexible enough to respond to the changing needs of customers as their businesses evolve.
Quay Quarter Sydney is a bold enabler of corporate change. While the commercial tower will have exceptional views, location and build quality, its design delivery and level of amenity takes it to a new realm. It is completely tailored for the talent of the 21st century — and engineered for behavioral excellence by putting people front and center of the design experience. The spaces are flexible, interactive, profoundly focused on human needs and will promote interactions that will drive business success.
What are some exciting initiatives being implemented at Quay Quarter?
Businesses are looking to a new kind of talent that can solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the community and the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities, and so Quay Quarter Sydney has forged strong relationships with our surrounding cultural and arts bodies like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Living Museums to extend their reach and relevance to people living and working in our new neighborhood.
An onsite public art strategy will also bring creativity into workers’ daily experience, providing right-brain stimulation through artworks and events. Not to mention the creative approach to food and specialty retailing that Sydney’s so famous for — .we expect that the entire neighborhood will foster a sense of well being, health and creative excitement.
How important is creating a sense of community across other assets from AMP Capital’s portfolio?
Over the last two years and as part of our purpose to deliver exceptional real estate experiences, we have introduced a number of key initiatives from our ‘Customer Promise’ program, to differentiate our team and our buildings from other offerings. This has ensured we are meeting our customers’ future needs.
In Melbourne’s Collins Place we have recently opened a new third space concept, The Drawing Room, for our customers and visitors to enjoy. The communal space includes both open and private working spaces, free WiFi, lounges, a library and book exchange for people to have a coffee in a private setting outside of their work environment.
In Brisbane’s office park, Milton Green, a significant investment program has created a precinct where people want to work and play. As part of the capital expenditure program, a new outdoor wellbeing space called ‘The Link’ was created offering regular yoga classes, an excellent coffee operation and networking functions as well as a newly created on-site Customer Services Manager role curating daily events for the community. The precinct offers weekly farmers markets, pop-up food trucks, a child-care facility and a soon-to-be-completed third spaces outdoor area.
In assets like 140 St Georges Terrace in Perth we have introduced a ground floor concierge to create a sense of community; free yoga and boxing classes for our customers; fresh and modern end-of-trip facilities; and a new building lobby fostered on collaboration and connectivity.
Importantly, by creating unique environments that deliver an exceptional experience for our customers, we are setting the portfolio up for future growth. Businesses are responding positively with solid renewal activity, in addition to welcoming a number of new customers across the country to our portfolio.
As we know it, the workplace and office building is constantly changing; the needs from the younger generations are putting pressure on organizations, who are then adding pressure to building owners.
All-in-all, everyone is adapting to change and the end game is to secure the best talent for our organizations and allow our organizations and people to foster and grow. AMP Capital is one of the developers leading the way with adapting to change, by implementing such concepts as neighborhoods into Quay Quarter Sydney and other assets across the country.
Furthermore, from our perspective this is only the beginning —the change to the office market will only continue to grow and as office agents and owners we’ll continue to adapt and attempt to stay ahead in these ever-demanding needs of people and businesses.
Cameron is a National Director for Office Leasing in Sydney, Australia where he specializes as a landlord representative. Cameron has 20 plus years’ experience and works with some of Australia’s biggest corporate, institutional and private landlord and occupier clients.