One of Sydney’s oldest and most iconic buildings has officially joined the coworking revolution, with provider Hub Australia set to open the doors to its new Customs House offices this week.
Hub Customs House will be the company’s seventh property in Australia and will be able to cater for more than 350 “members” with prices starting at $1000 a desk, per month.
Hub last year signed an agreement with the City of Sydney to take over 2341 square metres on levels three and four of the 174-year-old building – Australia’s oldest remaining customs building.
Customs House was acquired by the City of Sydney from the federal government in an off-market transaction earlier this year for an undisclosed sum as part of the Commonwealth Property Disposal Policy.
Hub – Australia’s largest privately held coworking space provider – spent four months doing a “multimillion-dollar renovation and fitout”.
“We feel privileged that our story will weave into the next chapter of this 174-year-old landmark building that is steeped with character and history,” said Hub Australia founder and chief executive Brad Krauskopf.
“Hub Australia’s mission has always been to create a unique home for businesses to grow. We find it fitting to offer growing businesses seeking a CBD office space in Sydney the opportunity to develop from this dynamic space that connects Australia’s history with its future, and thrives as a place to meet, learn and create.”
The office – 50 per cent of which has already been leased – will feature five business suites that each can accommodate up to 20 people, private offices and open plan dedicated and “flexible” desks.
Common facilities include serviced meeting rooms and boardroom; a fully serviced cafe; member kitchen and lounge; fitness space; end-of-trip facilities and parents’ rooms.
Perhaps fitting for a building that also hosts a City of Sydney library, another feature of the new fitout is a members’ library.
Hub completed the renovation in collaboration with Billard Leece Partnership.
Billard Leece Partnership associate Smitha Suraj said the renovation, which was designed to emphasise views to the harbour, retained many of the building’s original features.
“The integrated design approach of the space drew on the building’s rich character and incorporates original window timber frames, heritage sandstone walls and feature archways resonating with the sail-like silhouette of the Opera House. Hub Customs House has been designed to herald the original Victorian Georgian structure and its significant modifications over the years as the city transformed the building into the creative cultural venue it is today,” Ms Suraj said.
Built in 1844, the building was the Australian Customs Service headquarters for 145 years.
It also controlled immigration in the 19th and early 20th century, before the department left the building in 1990.
It was first leased to the City of Sydney in 1998 so it could be repurposed as a cultural and community facility.
Levels three and four have previously been leased to tenants including the Sydney Opera House Trust and fund manager CHAMP Group Services.
Repurposed heritage buildings have proven a hit with coworking providers in Australia. Other Hub buildings include spaces in Melbourne’s Mail Exchange Building and the Georges Building.
Global coworking giant WeWork has taken over spaces in Sydney’s iconic “Money Box” building at 5 Martin Place and a former warehouse at 100 Harris Street in Pyrmont.