Quintessential Secures Long-Term Lease from St Patrick’s Church for The Arbory in Fortitude Valley

A $175-million project between the historic St. Patrick’s Church and developer Quintessential in Fortitude Valley is set to redefine the city’s business landscape, paving the way for the construction of The Arbory, a cutting-edge, environmentally conscious office building.

Quintessential’s long-term leasehold agreement with St Patrick’s Church has received approval to commence the construction of The Arbory, an eight-story, $175 million office building located at 58 Morgan Street. This project represents a significant addition to the inner-city precinct and the ongoing regeneration efforts around the iconic church, which dates back to the 1880s.

The Arbory has been designed by the renowned architectural firm Blight Rayner and is poised to become a symbol of innovation and sustainability in the heart of Fortitude Valley. The building will span 15,000 square meters of space, featuring 2000-square-meter floor plates, and will stand as a 100% electric, green-powered, fossil fuel-free office space.

The site will also encompass a remarkable 4,200-square-metre public space featuring lush landscaping and Ficus Obliqua fig trees, all centred around the heritage-listed property. This ambitious development aims to harmonize modernity and history by celebrating the architectural legacy of the area while introducing state-of-the-art office facilities.

The Arbory Fortitude Valley
Photo Credit: Quintessential

The proposal’s unique design allows for the preservation of St. Patrick’s Church’s significant fabric and external elements, further enhancing the historical and cultural significance of the precinct. The plaza on the ground floor will serve as an expansive gathering space, providing a unique backdrop to the historic church and promoting visitation and awareness.

In addition to the plaza, the project will also feature a rooftop recreation deck, offering users a covered court, olive tree courtyard, sunken courtyard, seating areas, and lush greenery.

The Arbory Fortitude Valley
Photo Credit: Quintessential

Andrew Borger, Chief Investment and Operations Officer at Quintessential, describes The Arbory as a “next-generation” workplace. 

“The Arbory is supported by a unique green space environment and proximity to the retail and hospitality amenity offered by James St and the wider Fortitude Valley,” he said.

To facilitate the church’s restoration efforts, the leasing agreement between Quintessential and the Archdiocese will help fund the church’s refurbishment and upkeep. Additionally, the building will provide infrastructure support to the church, including solar power generation and potable water from its roof.

Andrew Carlton of CBRE, who has been appointed as the leasing agent for The Arbory project, anticipates a swift leasing campaign due to the high demand for premium office spaces in Fortitude Valley. 

“The Arbory is a green office oasis hidden in the heart of the city fringe’s most vibrant and connected precinct.

The development application for ‘The Arbory’ can be accessed on Brisbane City Council’s Planning & Development Online platform under application A005698653.

‘The Arbory’ has been hailed as a groundbreaking project that combines cutting-edge design with environmental consciousness. It promises to redefine the concept of a modern office space while preserving and celebrating Brisbane’s historical heritage.

Published 16-Sept-2023

Locals Worry Approved Tower Will Overshadow St Patrick’s Church

Concerns have been raised that an approved eight-storey building in Fortitude Valley, situated right next to St Patrick’s Catholic Church, would ‘overshadow’ the 140-year-old church. 

Read: New Plaza Part Of St Patrick’s Church Restoration

The proposal, which was given the green light in August 2021, seeks the establishment of an 8-storey commercial office building adjacent to St Patrick’s Church to the north-east. 

It will feature a rooftop garden and a space for the parish community to meet. The eight-storey building will also have two levels of basement car parking for 132 cars. 

It includes the restoration of the church which will not have a huge impact on its external elements and its iconic Gothic design.

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council PD Online

Residents believe the $120 million development will be far higher than the stated eight storeys. At a height of 42.8m, it would overshadow the 16m high apex of the church which would make it equivalent to 12 storeys.

Surrounding buildings only range from two to four storeys, except for the Eminence building which is seven storeys tall. The subject site, located along Morgan St, is presently used for carparking and by dog walkers. 

Artist’s impression of proposed eight-storey building (Photo credit: Brisbane City Council PD Online

Aside from  soaring above the St Patrick’s Catholic Church, some locals worried it may have an impact on privacy and residential amenities. 

Among those who sent their submission were residents of The East Village, who were concerned that the eight-storey building would overlook its apartments.

One local who wrote a submission to Council noted that the entire northern side of the building is clad with glass windows that will look directly into The East Village residences affording the occupants little privacy and constant responsibility to adjust their lives to suit the proposed building occupancy modes.

East Village (Photo credit: Ray White)

“Paired with the small separation distance and no landscaping, I believe that users will be able to look directly into my apartment and this impact on the privacy of my home and my lifestyle,” stated one resident. 

The Brisbane Catholic Archdiocese explained that the parish has been undertaking structural and other investigations to establish a final scope of works, which will come at significant cost. They have already consulted experts including specialist geotechnical engineers, structural engineers and heritage consultants for the works.

“These works will assist in ensuring St Patricks continues to remain as a long-standing form of Gothic Architecture and within suburban Brisbane. Additionally, the limited street presence beyond the immediate view from Morgan Street is to be retained and enhanced as part of the development,” Urbis wrote in an assessment report for the applicant. 

To see the full details regarding the proposed tower, see A005698653.

Archdiocese of Brisbane Lodges Commercial Development Application for St Patrick’s Church

A development application detailing plans to construct an eight-storey building next to St Patrick’s Church in Fortitude Valley was submitted by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane to the Brisbane City Council.

Filed in early April 2021, the development application (DA A005698653) cites that the mixed-use building will also have various public areas, including a communal rooftop terrace overlooking the southeast section of Morgan Street. Views of the church from McLachlan and James Streets will not have any obstructions. 

Photo Credit: Developmenti/Brisbane City Council

The second to the seventh level of the building will be leased to commercial and office establishments. The plan also includes two levels of basement parking to accommodate 132 cars and 115 bikes. If approved, the construction will take up 2,441 square metres of space or about 23 percent of the land. 

Photo Credit: Developmenti/Brisbane City Council

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese said that the commercial site will ensure that St Patrick’s Church, one of the oldest churches in the city, will thrive and continue to support the community for years to come.

St Patrick’s Church has been a landmark for more than 140 years. Built around 1880-1882, the property was entered into the Queensland Heritage Listing in 1992 for its cultural, historical and religious significance for Fortitude Valley residents. 

Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Brisbane is also currently overseeing the refurbishments of St Stephen’s Cathedral. As with St Patrick’s Church, this historical site has been a vital part of the community for more than 150 years.