The Gladstone Engineering Alliance’s new permanent home hadn’t officially opened when Gladstone News took the tour, but the boardroom was already full of members and non-members alike attending a workshop on supply chain optimisation.
Whispering so as not to disturb the course participants, GEA CEO Carli Homann said purchasing the building and arcade at 4/69 Goondoon Street was a smart commercial move in the current climate:
“We worked out in comparison to what we were paying in rent, what we could afford to build, and essentially this building is what we could afford,” she said.
“It’s allowed us to go back to the tenants and tell them – this is what we need to spend, this is what we need to cover for the year – and base their rent upon that. They’re competitive for a small to medium business to maintain when you compare it to other places around the CBD,” she said.
GEA is self-sustaining, funded by dues from their members and money raised through training events, conferences, and dinners. Their new HQ will add a rental income stream to the kitty.
“It gives us a presence and a headquarters for our members and demonstrates that we’ve always been in it for the long haul – together with Gladstone business,” Ms. Homann said.
Much needed renovations have opened up the interior, which GEA have styled with blonde wood and chic barn-doors connecting the boardroom and adjacent open-plan office to a huge, airy space with views over NRG. This area could potentially host up to 80 guests for meetings or events.
Solicitors V.A.J. Byrne occupied the building for over forty years and the interior was dated: “The colour scheme was salmon pink, powder blue, and mission brown.”
“There was a huge, imposing reception desk, which we’ve since sold on Facebook and the gentleman who bought it has turned it into a bar. He sent us photos!” Ms. Homann said.
The renovations will not stop on opening day:
“Down the stairs underneath these two offices is a whole other section of the building,” Ms Homann said.
“The committee has got some wonderful ideas for it: they’d love to create some kind of a Member’s Lounge. We’ve also been looking at creating quite a large community space that can be used for all kinds of things – functions, lunches, dinners, weddings – you name it.”
Come into the new GEA Building at 4/69 Goondoon Street, which officially opened on 22 February and talk to the team.