Government calls on Flight Centre

A FEDERAL Government department has secured sublease space for a call centre in the headquarters of one of the major local casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to sources, Stellar - a company which has an arm that is setting up call centres for the Government around Australia - approached the embattled Flight Centre about hiring staff who have been stood down.

As it turned out, Flight Centre had plenty of available suitable space in the Southpoint tower at South Bank and have done a deal with Stellar to short-term sublease three floors, or 6000sq m.

We understand it will be occupied by the Government through the Commonwealth's shared services program.

The good news is that some of those Flight Centre staff who have been stood down will stay on and will make up a fair portion of the Government's call centre.

The shared service program merges some of the operations of service such as Centrelink and Medicare in a cost cutting exercise. The program is now expanding because of demand sparked by the COVID-19 crisis.

Conversely, Flight Centre has had to dramatically scale down its operations in the wake of the pandemic and its impact of the travel and tourism industries.

 

Flight Centre will close 100 stores in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Flight Centre will close 100 stores in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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AFTER three months gardening leave five former CBRE office leasing specialists have launched their new boutique agency - Tactic Property - and they say they have hit the ground running despite the impact of the coronavirus.

Mel Pikos, James Comino, Michael Skarparis, Lee Berry and Joshua Poiani left CBRE late last year and since then they have recruited Jordan George from Elders Commercial into the new venture.

Pikos says they're working out of an office in the Tesla building at 62 Ann St, Fortitude Valley.

While the office leasing market has dried up he says in the wake of COVID-19 they are busy helping landlords and tenants renegotiate new deals

"We're just getting on with it," Pikos says.

"Actually it's a good time to start a business like ours because we can pivot a lot easier and quicker into new areas."

 

The Tactic Property team.
The Tactic Property team.

Meanwhile, in conditions which have been described to Commercial Confidential as the potentially the worst since the GFC, the major agencies have had to make some big changes,

We hear many of those on the top salaries will be getting - if not now, certainly soon - a pay cut of up to 20 per cent, staff have had to take holidays and many support employees have had to pack up and go.

It's hard to do deals when there's precious little on the table and if the GFC is anything to go by the commercial property sector, which had been riding a wave of success for a number of years, will have to negotiate increasingly treacherous waters.

 

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HOWEVER, despite the gloom, Sentinel Property Group can see a bit of sunshine.

The Brisbane-based syndicator has started the installation of a solar power system for the high profile Townsville CBD commercial office building River Quays, the Australian headquarters of Indian mining giant Adani.

Sentinel managing director Warren Ebert said the seven-storey River Quays building at 3-17 Tomlins St will have 263 solar panels installed on the roof.

He said Sentinel was investing heavily in renewable energy and last year completed a $2 million solar power upgrade at its DFO Cairns retail centre, involving the installation of more than 3000 solar panels.

"Solar is one of the cleanest sources of energy and we have been able to run our DFO retail complex in a more efficient and sustainable manner while providing clean energy," Mr Ebert said.

"Our solar installation at River Quays is on a much smaller scale than what we have done at DFO but will still make a big difference."

Sentinel is installing a 99.94 kilowatt (kWh) photovoltaic (PV) system at River Quays which is expected to produce approximately 450 kWh per day on average.

"Overall, it is expected the River Quays system would provide enough energy to power around 20 average family households per day," Mr Ebert said.

The installation is expected to be completed in late April and power energization early in May.

Sentinel purchased River Quays for $28.6 million in December, 2017, a few months after Adani moved into the building.

Adani River Quays Views at 3-17 Tomlins St in Townsville.
Adani River Quays Views at 3-17 Tomlins St in Townsville.

Originally published as Government calls on Flight Centre



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