Historic Box Hill showroom sells after campaign targeting developers

By | septiembre 28, 2017
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One of central Box Hill’s most historic buildings has sold for a speculated price of more than $16 million after a marketing campaign that targeted developers.

The former Colonial Gas Association showroom at 942-946 Whitehorse Road was built in 1936 for the company that operated a gasworks at the nearby corner of Elgar Road (this site made way in the 1970s for a purpose-built, multi-storey TAFE facility).

Originally configured with two showrooms, two shopfronts and a kitchen on the ground floor, and a cooking school with six ovens, upstairs, the Moderne-style CGAL premises has been severely altered over the years to become a retail space.  A rendered Art Deco style parapet that  once crowned the building’s entry has been demolished.

With 25 metres of frontage to the suburb’s main commercial thoroughfare, the 970-square-metre site was marketed as a strategic land holding with the potential to make way for a tower of more than 20 storeys, sources say.

Also an investment, the fully leased asset returns annual rent of $627,020 from three tenants, including gaming company Dark Zone, which has occupied part of the building for more than 20 years. Restaurant China Chili just signed a 10-year lease for another part of the distinctive building, prior to it being listed for sale earlier this year.

Emmetts Real Estate’s Charles Emmett marketed the showroom, one of more than 30 shops created following the subdivision of a former market, in 1929. The block is next door to an 1885 recreation hall which in 1929 was transformed into the popular Rialto picture theatre (then in 1961 remodelled into Palmer’s Arcade).

Ashley Williams sells conservation land

BRW Rich List member Ashley Williams has offloaded an unusual 52-hectare site in Mickleham, about 32 kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD.

The Rural Conservation-zoned block is the balance of a housing estate, The Woods, which Evolve Development, a company co-owned by Williams and Ron Walker, has been developing in recent years.

The portion that has just sold, known as 355 Donnybrook Road, is not appropriate for intense residential redevelopment and was instead marketed to buyers (private and commercial) who might need a sanctuary-type environment.

Speculative land bankers were also targeted in the campaign managed by Biggin & Scott Land’s Andrew Egan and Callum Williamson.

Satterley, Stockland and Villawood Properties are active developers in the immediate area to this site. Local outfit MAB is building Victoria’s largest master-planned business hub as part of its billion dollar-plus Merrifields mixed-use development, in the suburb.

Blazer founder pays $10m+ for site next door

The founder and managing director of Blazer Clothing, Peter Murray, is paying the Schwarz family more than $10 million for a Richmond commercial asset neighbouring his company’s headquarters.

In the suburb’s riverside pocket of Cremorne, the 761-square-metre holding at 33-37 Cremorne Street was not offered with any redevelopment plans, but attracted builder interest, being in a street with new six-storey apartment buildings.

The precinct is nominated as a key urban renewal location within the state government’s Plan Melbourne strategy.

CBRE’s David Minty said the record land rate achieved for the site ($13,300 per square metre) valued the Commercial 2-zoned land at a similar rate to blocks where residential redevelopment is immediately allowed.

Cremorne has an office vacancy rate of less than 1 per cent – the lowest of any CBD fringe market, according to Mr Minty, who marketed the site with colleagues Nathan Maule, Josh Rutman and Chao Zhang.

The deal comes a week after developer Longriver sold a 661-square-metre site at 207 Bridge Road, Richmond, with a permit for a 54-unit apartment complex.

Another Devitt mansion to be razed

For the second time in three years, a prominent mansion once owned by LU Simon managing director Peter Devitt is facing a date with a demolition ball.

In Wheelers Hill, about 23 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, a developer has applied to replace Devitt’s former Highlands estate, at 112-116 Lum Road, with 15 townhouses.

The proposal would require the demolition of the hilltop home, described in a campaign when it last sold in 2008 as a “landmark” residence occupying “the best position” in what agents call Wheelers Hill’s Golden Mile. With postcard views to the Dandenongs, the approximate 3656-square-metre holding includes a heritage-listed Moreton Bay Fig in its garden.

In late 2013, Devitt banked $18.5 million selling his historic and fully renovated St Georges Road, Toorak, mansion, Idylwilde, to billionaire investor and golf club owner, Xiaoyan “Kylie” Bao who created headlines and controversy when she razed it two years later.

Last week, LU Simon unveiled plans to build a 14-level luxury apartment complex, The Muse, in St Kilda Road, which will contain a penthouse to be priced at more than $40 million.

Tick for another super-skinny tower

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has approved the Melbourne CBD’s next super-skinny skyscraper at 57-63 Exhibition Street, near Birrarung Marr.

The circa 200-metre, 48-storey tower – proposed with more than 220 units, configured as apartments, and hotels, will rise from an 890-square-metre site which developer Asia One Property Group bought for $37.5 million in 2014.

In 2015, local developer Salta became an equal share co-owner – director Sam Tarascio jnr noting the precinct was short of apartment stock, but in high demand.

The consortium’s proposal will include a new thoroughfare connecting Strahan and Chester lanes. It is expected the builders will seek to appoint a hotel operator before construction is complete.

A 48-year old, 14-level, 6048-square-metre office building on the site, known over the years by various names including ASF House, Citicorp House and most recently, the MOFS Centre, will be razed as part of the 57-63 Exhibition Street skyscraper plan.

Last month, it was reported Salta paid $8 million for a 1761-square-metre site abutting its Preston Market holding, in Melbourne’s north. This site was offered with a  permit for a nine-level complex with 95 flats and ground-floor retail.

Email: marcpallisco@gmail.com

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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