by Lisa Creffield
In a busy leafy street in Sydney’s CBD, overlooking historic St Patrick’s church, stands the city’s only heritage-listed business centre. Grosvenor Business Centre is a step back into an era of elegance, high ceilings, period accents, opening windows and mahogany, discreetly updated with the latest IT infrastructure.
“The reason I bought the business was the fact that it was (and still is) the only serviced office business in Sydney in a Heritage listed building which provides a tremendous marketing edge as it’s a unique offering,” explains UOS founder and CEO Brian Challen. Clients liken it to being an oasis in the city as its exudes calmness.
Built in 1927, Grosvenor Business Centre has housed several important government agencies and overseas rep offices over the decades, and still boasts a secure vault – now used for file storage.
These days it attracts a wide cross section of clients, one of which has been in the building for seventeen years. Others include Lonely Planet, bChannels, legal practitioners and a handful start ups.
“They all seem to really like the relaxed, non corporate feel of the building and the fact that you can turn the air conditioning off and open up the windows in each office, which is very unusual in Sydney,” Brian says.
It’s a stark contrast to UOS’s Hunter Street centre. A vibrant, contemporary fit-out, Hunter Street offers contemporary office spaces including co-working, hot desking, a business lounge and break out areas. Colours are bold and upbeat, and it’s becoming a popular venue for after-work events and with 24 x 7 meetings, conference & training rooms available, UOS @ Hunter Street is open for business anytime. Overall the centre has been so successful that just four months in, it’s already achieved 81% occupancy.
“In this Centre we’ve added a work bar and a contemporary business lounge which enables clients to meet and work informally around the Centre and not just in their own office,” Brian says.
UOS is actively looking to add another Centre near Hunter Street, as the New South Wales Government intends to compulsorily acquire the building to make way for the new Martin Place Railway Station. The enhanced transport links will make the location even more desirable.
Brian has long experience in the property industry. Having started out as a trainee leasing negotiator in London, he came to Australia as a “10 pound Pom” and joined a local property agency where he climbed the ranks to become Office Leasing Director and held that position for 14 years. After seeing the potential of serviced offices in Sydney Brian moved to acquire key properties, filling them up straight way. Brian believes that dedicated, personal service, the latest technology and competitive rates make all the difference when it comes to attracting and retaining clients.
“Our point of difference is really the way we treat our clients. We work with them and frequently become a trusted partner which enables them to focus on their business while we take care of all the office support services. We train our staff well and I believe we are privileged to have the best staff in the industry,” Brian says.
As it expands, UOS remains carefully selective about which buildings are best suited to its business, but location, natural light, and quality of building services and management are all critical factors.