For over a year, BRM has been providing strategic property guidance and planning for Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre. While every property client is a valuable experience in itself, this project was meaningful in a different way…
The Jewish Holocaust Centre was established in Melbourne by Holocaust Survivors who built it to serve as a memorial to the 6 million Jews who perished in World War Two. The museum’s education program is fundamental in combating antisemitism, racism and prejudice in the wider community. It educates about the importance of learning from the past and in today’s political and social climate, The Holocaust serves as a frightening reminder of what human beings are capable of.
Property Services With A Personal Connection
Every now and again a BRM team member will have a personal connection to a project. In the case of the JHC, 4 of us do. Both BRM Directors and 2 members of the BRM team are direct descendants of Holocaust survivors. Aside from the importance of this organisation and the work it carries out, this meaningful and personal connection to the museum, was a driving factor in BRMs decision to offer its property services free of charge. BRM Director Gab Aghion’s grandmother is 92 and one of Melbourne’s last surviving holocaust survivors. When asked about the project, Gab stated that BRM “are passionate and committed and really proud to be assisting this organisation” – a reflection of his personal commitment to an organisation whose purpose is to eradicate the kind of hatred endured by his grandparents.
The JHC was required to relocate while its existing space was being demolished and re-built.
For over a year, BRM has been honoured to provide both occasional and in-depth property advice for the centre, during this period of relocation, free of charge. BRM’s Property Team was given project requirements to accommodate the education facility, the museum and its staff, as well as a space that provided high quality storage for irreplaceable art (ideally 1500sqm). Our team set to work, providing strategic guidance and planning. We engaged our network of key providers (from planning, to commercial real estate agents and developers) and we were pleased to find that many were happy to offer guidance free of charge.
We went to market, assessing a large number of properties that could potentially home the JHC for the next 2-3 years. An organisation of this nature presented a unique and somewhat challenging property search, as the requirements were beyond those we would usually have when searching for a new office space. The ideal building would be approximately 1000-2000 sqm, allow for the safe arrival and accommodation of large volumes of children, have good bus access and access to public transport, offer a short term lease and, most importantly, be cost effective.
A New Temporary Home For the JHC
Together with the JHC Board, and Museum Director, Jayne Josem, we selected a building and negotiated a Heads of Agreement with legal and planning input. The planners at SJB went above and beyond throughout the planning process and their professionalism contributed to a successful planning outcome. The legal team at ABL assisted with the lease and were also highly experienced and professional.
Through working openly and collaboratively with the leasing agents at Colliers, landlord and Stonnington council, and leveraging the experience of the legal team, planners and BRM’s property team, we were able to secure a planning permit, and eventually a lease was signed on the week of Jewish New Year!
Despite a fairly challenging property puzzle, the landlord was very understanding and the BRM Property team, together with the other service providers involved, did our utmost to ensure a successful outcome for the JHC. Our dedication to this project reflected our deep commitment and admiration for the important work carried out by this organisation and now we pass the baton to our design team who will take on the fit out project in the new location.
We wish the JHC, its staff and its volunteers all the best in the new space and we look forward to seeing a newly built centre for future generations to benefit from.
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