Allen & Overy flags eco-credentials as it signs deal to move Sydney team to landmark 33 Alfred Street Tower

UK firm to lease 2,500 sq metres of historic tower from 2025 following eco-friendly refurbishment

Allen & Overy (A&O) has confirmed plans to relocate its Sydney team a to new space in 33 Alfred Street following a refurbishment that will see the landmark office tower become carbon neutral. 

A&O's roughly 140-strong Sydney team have been at 85 Castlereagh Street for more than a decade and are set to move to Alfred Street in early 2025 upon completion of the building works. Opened in 1962 as Sydney’s first skyscraper, the tower is set to undergo refurbishment after being vacated by AMP, which was headquartered there until 2021. A&O will lease around 2,500 sq metres across levels 14 and 15.

The tower is located in Circular Quay, a short walk from the Sydney Opera House. A&O said the refurbishment would see the building fully retain its existing structure to extend its life and minimise material waste, and would be carbon neutral for operations against scope 1 and 2 emissions. 

Commenting on the plans, A&O Sydney managing partner, Jason Denisenko, said: “33 Alfred Street was Sydney’s first skyscraper, and it will be recreated for a new future of work. With views of Sydney’s famous Harbour and easy access to the open spaces of the Botanic Gardens, the refurbishment has also been designed with access to a new cultural precinct, Quay Quarter. The location has access to upgraded amenities and facilities to enhance the workday experience for our people.” 

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33 Alfred Street forms part of Quay Quarter Sydney and is jointly owned by Mirvac Wholesale Office Fund and Dexus Wholesale Property Fund, with Dexus retaining development responsibilities and management rights for the building upon completion, A&O said.

The building is targeting a 5.5-Star NABERS Energy rating for the base building, as well as a 6-Star Green Star – Office As Built v3 rating.

A&O’s Sydney move follows the firm announcing back in 2021 that it planned to move its London headquarters in 2026 to offices being constructed at 2 Broadgate in the City of London, in a move that the firm said would allow it to reduce its floor space by 246,000sq ft and help to meet its commitment to achieve a 50% reduction in absolute carbon emissions by 2030.

The firm is one of a number to announce a London move in the past few years, as firms take advantage of flexible working to reduce their footprint and in the process move into a space that boosts their eco-credentials. 

Last May, UK rival HFW said it was moving from an 80,000sq ft space at Friary Court to new 60,000sq ft offices at 8 Bishopsgate, which is being developed to be low-carbon in operation and has features including solar panels and rainwater harvesting. 

HFW's new law firm neighbours will include Cooley, Covington & Burling and Skadden, which reduced its London office space by around 25,000 sq ft when it moved to 22 Bishopsgate recently

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