The Reserve Bank of Australia has asked the federal government for a whopping a quarter of a billion dollars to upgrade its heritage-listed headquarters in the heart of the Sydney’s CBD.
The proposed $259.7 million works would repair leaking sewer risers, replace lifts, reconfigure workspaces, install insulation and replace glass windows to bring the 1960s building in line with modern standards.
The 22-storey tower at 65 Martin Place – where the central bank manages Australia’s monetary system and influences the cost of loans and mortgages – was completed in 1964 in the “International Modernist” architectural style.
The bank’s renovation plans, as well as its request for $9 million in furniture and fixtures, is being examined by a federal parliament public works committee in Sydney.
An earlier proposal by the RBA to sell the building was rejected due to its need for specialised fixtures including heavy-duty vaults to store banknotes.
“Selling and leasing or constructing a new facility offered the least favourable value for money option over the long-term, with costs far in excess of the options to upgrade the existing building,” the RBA said in its submission to the committee.
When the works are complete, the RBA will have an extra two floors of space, which it could theoretically rent out for up to $2.7 million a year.
It has previously let building space to law firms.
But there won’t be any children running about the premises with the RBA ruling out childcare facilities.
“Due to the restricted access and critical nature of the operations, there is no plan to incorporate childcare provisions on the site,” it said.
The Martin Place pedestrian mall is also home to the headquarters of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Macquarie Bank, the Sydney GPO and Seven Network’s Sydney news centre.
The RBA sold its Melbourne headquarters on Collins Street in 2018 for a reported $160 million.