Property trusts can now capitalise on finance for building retrofits
A change in Victorian legislation will allow property trusts to gain access to finance for environmental upgrades, significantly increasing opportunities to retrofit buildings in Melbourne’s city centre.
An amendment to the City of Melbourne Act will permit property trusts to enter into environmental upgrade agreements, which link local government charging powers to the lending capacities of financial institutions. Melbourne’s property trusts can now secure capital from financial institutions at competitive rates, for up to 10 years, to be repaid through a council charge that stays with the retrofitted building.
While property trusts account for only 10 percent of commercial building owners within the City of Melbourne, they hold 42 percent of the city’s total lettable space. According to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, this small change in legislation provides enormous opportunity for property trusts to transform many of Melbourne’s commercial buildings.
The change in legislation means that all commercial building owners in the City of Melbourne can now take advantage of a world-leading financial mechanism, Scott Bocskay, Sustainable Melbourne Fund chief executive, notes.
“We want to ensure that as many buildings as possible have the chance to take up the opportunity to retrofit their buildings and reap the environmental and financial benefits. That is why we went back to the government and asked for further legislative change. I am delighted that the State Government approved the amendment and that the Minister for Local Government the Hon Jeanette Powell MP shares our vision for the potential value it can deliver for the commercial building industry,” Doyle comments.
“Property trusts are well equipped to undertake building retrofits and this legislative amendment will enable this group of sophisticated building owners to reduce energy and water use and lower carbon emissions in our city. This change in legislation is another important step forward in ensuring the environmental sustainability for our city well into the future.”