WPP’s long held dream of finally consolidating all its agencies under the one roof (well, its Sydney ones, anyway) looks like it might finally come to fruition after news the company had leased a yet-to-be built $1.2 billion tower in North Sydney.
A report on the real estate sight Realcommercial.com.au (which you can read in full HERE) revealed that WPP bosses had agreed in principal to tenant the new Victoria Cross building that is to be built above the new North Sydney metro station and is due for completion in 2024.
B&T has contacted WPP for comment on this story, however, it declined to comment publicly.
An artist’s impression of the new Victoria Cross building due for completion in 2024.
According to Realcommercial.com.au, the development is described as a “next generation tower”.
“The brief for WPP was chased by developers for years but its office consolidation plans had to await a corporate play in which local offshoot WPP AUNZ was merged with WPP last May,” the article noted.
“While the parties declined to comment as the pre-commitment is at an early stage, it will give [developer] Lendlease confidence to push ahead with the tower,” it said.
WPP’s Sydney operations are presently focused on three main areas – the GroupM agencies are based in North Sydney. Much of management is based at Millers Point in the Rocks, while its PR and creative agencies are further up the train line in St Leonards.
It’s been a long-held wish of WPP bosses to consolidate its Sydney agencies under the one roof. The company presently employs about 3500 people in Australia, although they are spread across the other capitals.
A couple of years ago, a very senior – and now former – boss at WPPAUNZ told B&T that the optimum solution would be for all of its Sydney agencies to be under the one roof.
“But with that many people and the rents the way they are in Sydney, the only place we could probably afford would be Parramatta [in Sydney’s west],” he said half-jokingly.
“Most people in this industry live in the eastern suburbs and I can’t see them commuting out to Parramatta everyday, can you? There’d be a mass exodus!” he said wryly.
And it appears North Sydney is set to reclaim the title of Australia’s media hub.
For those with long memories, all the top agencies were based there until the late 80s when places like Surry Hills, The Rocks and Redfern lured them over with the promise of cheaper rents, cooler digs and grungier cachet (the ubiquitous agency whitewashed wall!)
However, when Nine relocated its Willoughby studios (which it sold to Hong Kong property developers for $249 million) to North Sydney in 2020, suddenly daggy North Sydney was far less daggy.
Nine’s digs at 1 Denison Street, North Sydney
Some 2000 of Nine’s employees now reside at the North Sydney complex including its sales team, newspapers and television network.
At the time, Nine chairman Peter Costello said of the move: “From a board’s point of view an investment like this doesn’t come cheap. Willoughby was a grand dame in her day but she has faded and this was a huge investment in our future. It’s coming together and as long as we stay focused it’ll be a great future. With that I say we open the new era and I formally open 1 Denison Street.”