The main tenant is in place and the basement bar will open to the public this week, as the new life of The Leader Building begins.
PRDnationwide made the move at the weekend from its Peel Street shopfront, and a select few guests have enjoyed soft and grand openings at The Press 2340.
The latter – a basement speakeasy bar that won’t take bookings and which guests must be buzzed into – will open to the public on Friday.
Mark Sleiman of Lionheart Property Development said the project had been “very challenging” but rewarding.
“We’ve retained everything of heritage significance … and restored it to its former glory,” he said.
Level 1, where the The Northern Daily Leader’s admin, advertising and classifieds staff were located, is now occupied by PRD’s formal and informal meeting areas, offices and amenities.
Level 2, which housed the NDL newsroom, accounts and photographic teams, is unoccupied and, in Mr Sleiman’s opinion, ideal for a professional service such as an accountancy or law firm.
Level 3, which stored The Leader’s archives before its move, has two suites: one is yet to be tenanted and the other is occupied by architecture drafting service Urban & Abode, which designed the building’s plans.
Mr Sleiman said he would like to see the newly added Level 4 – the highest commercial space in the city – become somewhere the public could enjoy, such as a restaurant.
“I’d like to see it as a place of public leisure,” he said.
At ground level along Brisbane Street, where The Land and Fairfax Rural Events were, Mr Sleiman anticipated a retail shopfront would move in.
Some of the work has included stripping out false floors, renewing the electricals, plumbing, security and fire safety, to today’s standard.
Some relics and features that have been retained include a paper guillotine, weighing about half a tonne, on display in the PRD lobby; the balustrade on the central staircase; the wood-and-brass doors at the public entry and staff entry at the corner of the building; and a timber balustrade in the bar.