Real estate giant unveils historic Shell House revamp

Brookfield Properties’ $2 billion Wynyard Place project has moved a step closer with the unveiling of the historic Shell House and clocktower that will be the new home for National Australia Bank.

Located on the corner of Carrington and Margaret streets, Shell House is fully integrated into the rising Wynyard Place project.

With basement works complete and all 10 levels of concrete flooring poured, fitout works are under way to accommodate NAB’s new Sydney headquarters in 2021.

Brookfield Properties begins to unveil its revamp of the historic Shell House building as part of its $2 billion Wynyard Place development.
Brookfield Properties begins to unveil its revamp of the historic Shell House building as part of its $2 billion Wynyard Place development.

The site will merge with the project’s centrepiece 27-storey office tower that was “topped out” last month after it reached its highest point and was renamed Brookfield Place.


The new office tower at 10 Carrington Street will comprise 68,000 sq m of office space and up to 7000 sq m of shops. The tower’s office area is about 80 per cent pre-leased, including to other major tenants of Allianz, Hub to Brookfield’s new Asia Pacific headquarters.

The news comes as green shoots begin to emerge in the office leasing market. Major landlords have begun calling for workers to return to offices to restore life to the city.

Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg told the Australian Financial Review Property Summit in Sydney last week that without city workers back in office towers, the country’s first recession in three decades would be much more painful than it needed to be.

But there remains concern about the sub-lease market in the lower-graded office towers which have been hard hit by the pandemic.

At Wynyard, NAB’s Shell House accommodation will feature an interconnected atrium that will include heritage elements from the site formerly known as the Menzies Hotel. The bank’s premises will have large floorplates of 3200 sq m.

Shell House is the only surviving interwar commercial palazzo-style building in Sydney clad with glazed terracotta “faience” blocks. Standing at 65.5 metres high, Shell House has a facade that is also one of the tallest retained heritage facades in the world.

Before redevelopment, Shell House was home to the Menzies Hotel, with its outdated 1970s interiors now transformed into a contemporary office building designed by architects MAKE and Architectus, with the new NAB fitout by Woods Bagot.

The complex transformation will result in the complete restoration of Shell House’s heritage facade, with the street level presence returned to its former opulence. On its rooftop, Shell House will accommodate new premium food and beverage vendors.

Carl Schibrowski, co-head, Brookfield Properties, said Wynyard Place was a “transformational, city-changing project” and would deliver a new transit hall and urban room as a grand new entry point to Wynyard station.

David Ghannoum, regional managing director of Multiplex NSW, said the restoration works had been meticulous and the group had collaborated with several heritage specialists to restore the Clock Tower. This meant repairing or replacing thousands of faience or glazed terracotta blocks, which are exclusively manufactured in the United States and shipped to Australia.

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