Meet the team: Michael Keeton, Lexicon Consulting
17 October 2017
1. What is your position and role in the refurbishment of the T&G Building?
I am the Client Side Project Manager from Lexicon Consulting representing Pembroke Real Estate on the T&G Building refurbishment project. I’m responsible for managing the design, construction and delivery of the project overall.
2. How does the T&G Building compare to other projects you’ve worked on?
I have worked on many commercial and retail development projects through Australia, but the T&G Building refurbishment project is special as it represents one of the most complex projects I’ve been involved in during my 30+ year career in property.
Projects of this nature, particularly when they involve the significant refurbishment of a building of this age, bring with them a myriad of complexities and multifaceted construction methodologies. This is always further enhanced when the works are being carried out within a tenanted, fully operational building throughout the redevelopment process.
3. What makes the T&G Building a significant project to you?
I love being responsible for such a significant modernisation of a historic building which involves the creation of a contemporary workplace with A-grade services, combined with high-quality finishes throughout, all within a building dating back to the 1920s.
I’m passionate about redeveloping ‘spaces’ to enhance their functionality. An example of this is removing the existing car park entrance at Ramsden Place, redefining its use, and pedestrianising the laneway – activating it to be utilised and enjoyed by the people of Melbourne. It is just brilliant!
4. What makes this a significant project for Lexicon Consulting?
The redevelopment is a ‘jewel in the crown’ project, from a Lexicon Consulting perspective. The T&G Building is the largest project that our relatively young company has been responsible for thus far and also represents our first project with Pembroke Real Estate.
5. What has been the most challenging element of this project?
It has all the elements of a major redevelopment such as: significant demolition and new build to the base building; approx. 40,000 square metres of commercial office space; significant service upgrades for new and existing tenants; multiple high-end retail, food and beverage offerings; coordination of tenant fit-outs; activation of an existing iconic building including the new Collins Street entry and pedestrianisation of Ramsden Place… And all of this within a fully functioning and operational tenanted building.
6. What is your favourite original feature of the T&G Building?
The T&G Mural by Mervyn Napier Waller and commissioned by the Temperance & General Life Assurance Society in 1928, which reads:
“Better than to squander life’s gifts is to conserve them and ensure a fearless future” Not only does it have historical significance but it offers a real snap-shot in time, drawing inspiration from classical legend.
The mural really captures your eye as you enter the old entrance to the building, and it’s fantastic to see it being protected and incorporated into the building’s future use.
7. What are you most looking forward to seeing upon completion, in terms of final building features?
The new atrium will be a special feature of the new building. The architects Bates Smart have done a fantastic job with the floor to ceiling glazing within a bespoke steel framed system and expressing the slab edges and columns that will give the atrium a new aesthetic.
I also look forward to seeing the new Ramsden Place pedestrianised entrance from Flinders Lane and the connectivity with Hosier Lane, as it will allow the building to share in the quintessential and world-renowned laneway culture of the Melbourne CBD.
8. What’s your top tip for anyone visiting or working in the ‘Paris End’ of Collins Street, where the T&G Building is located?
As I am not much of a ‘shopper’, it would have to be the various bars and restaurants within such close proximity to the T&G Building. Yak Bar is a favourite and has been the location of many a ‘post-meeting’ meeting!
IMAGE CREDIT: Commercial Photographic Co. National Gallery of Victoria.