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North Melbourne site taken to new heights
By · 16 Nov 2013
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16 Nov 2013
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North Melbourne site taken to new heights

The owners of a prominent North Melbourne site, for which Planning Minister Matthew Guy in March gave a permit to become a $200 million mixed-use village, have lodged a substitute application exploiting new height limits recently imposed by Planning Panels Victoria.

United Asia Group's latest proposal for the former Southern Motors dealership and long-time Carlins Motor Auctions House - seeks to increase the maximum height of approved buildings from 40 to 58 metres.

Approximately 460 flats are now being requested, up from 400. However, the number of car parks earmarked is down to 337 from 344. The Leukaemia Foundation will occupy 1193 square metres of lower level commercial space and 15 apartments.

The adjoining showrooms at 19-35 Flemington Road and 23-35 Blackwood Street, about a kilometre north of the CBD border, are covered by the City North Structure Plan 2012 that anticipates replacing "under-utilised" former industrial properties near the Haymarket roundabout.

A train station is mooted for the area as part of the proposed nine-kilometre Metro train line connecting South Kensington to South Yarra via the City Square. "The government should be supporting large-scale residential projects at the Carlton end of North Melbourne, given the area's proximity to the CBD, University of Melbourne, RMIT and various hospitals and research centres," said Frank Vinci, director of Vinci Carbone.

His agency has just listed 245 Peel Street, a 340-square-metre block at the south-west edge of the Haymarket roundabout with a permit for a six-level apartment complex.

"Given the site's prominence and location it should be developed into a spectacular 20-storey building rather than a demure six-level block," Mr Vinci said.

Ghale MIT site sold

Education entrepreneur and property developer Shesh Ghale has sold an office at 388 Lonsdale Street for $20.5 million. A Chinese syndicate acquired the 6902 sq m office on a 689 sq m block on a high yield of 9.2 per cent. Mr Ghale's Melbourne Institute of Technology paid $16.2 million for the office in 2009. Savills director Clinton Baxter and Nick Peden were the marketing agents.

Earlier this week Mr Ghale unveiled plans for a $450 million apartment and hotel complex to replace the former City Mazda site in William Street opposite Flagstaff Gardens.

Keysborough farm

A five-hectare farm in Keysborough, close to two major new infrastructure projects, has sold to a local residential developer for $14 million.

The 50 Church Street property, about 27 kilometres south-east of the CBD near Dandenong, is expected to be redeveloped as a housing estate with about 80 lots.

Close to a Haileybury College campus and the Keysborough Golf Course, the farm is also now close to the Dingley Bypass and EastLink, which connects people to the CBD in about half an hour.

Biggin & Scott Land's Andrew Egan said the Keysborough farm would have been worth just $1 million about 10 years ago before the new infrastructure made the site more convenient to Melbourne.

The agents are now expecting another $7 million for a two-hectare site in Stanley Road, which almost abuts 50 Church Street.

Smorgy's for sale

The Smorgy's restaurant, which burnt down in September three days after a controversial permit was issued to replace it with a residential village, has been listed for sale.

The 1091 Plenty Road site in Bundoora is expected to sell for about $10 million. It is offered with permission for a six-building compound that will include more than 360 flats and commercial and retail space fronting Plenty Road.

The tallest towers will rise 10 levels including two levels of basement car parking. CBRE is the marketing agency.

Lonely Planet office

Trilogy Funds Management has again listed for sale the riverside Footscray office that for 23 years was the headquarters of travel publisher Lonely Planet.

Trilogy can expect about $14 million for the historic three-storey, 7374-square-metre red brick office with 86 undercover parking bays.

Lonely Planet, created by Melburnians in 1972 but now controlled by London interests, is committed to the building until October 2016. Earlier this year the company announced local redundancies and has since subleased part of the office now for sale at 90 Maribyrnong Street.

The 1920s former wool store has views over industrial land to Docklands and the CBD. It returns annual rent of about $1.7 million and is expected to sell on a yield of about 12 per cent, according to Jones Lang LaSalle director Paul Burns who is representing Trilogy with colleague Steve Messina.

Hawthorn East site

An investor has paid about $6.4 million for a prominent office near the Camberwell Junction. It's expected the new owner will extend the four-level building at 20 Council Street in Hawthorn East, behind the Rivoli Cinema. In the longer term its use is expected to remain as a commercial office.

The 1726-square-metre building, with a 48-bay basement car park, is on a 643-square-metre block and fully leased, returning about $540,000 annually in rent.

It was listed for sale by Burgess Rawson with concept plans to extend tto seven levels. Raoul Holderhead and Graeme Watson were the agents.

Queen Street tavern

The Queen Street restaurant which in its heyday accommodated Sir Elton John and Mick Jagger - but whose owner 10 years ago was prosecuted for serving infested food and later told to shut down - has been listed for sale.

The former Rajah Sahib Tavern, for years controlled by restaurateur and immigration agent Larry Mendonca, is being offered by a mortgagee in possession and expected to sell for about $1.9 million.

In 2009 Mr Mendonca made headlines when links were revealed to a new restaurant, Empress of India, which opened after Rajah Sahib was shut and council stripped him of his food registration.

Earlier this year it was reported a former girlfriend and landlord was trying to evict him from part of the 375 Queen Street building he was using as offices. It was disputed Mr Mendonca was paying a weekly "peppercorn" rent of $120 to occupy the space until 2018.

Knight Frank selling agent Marcus Quinn describes the vacant heritage-protected asset as "in serious need of a makeover". The 350-square-metre building on a 204-square-metre block abuts the Queen Victoria Market.


CBRE's Victorian managing director Matt Haddon has been appointed to a Pacific regional role as director of the firm's industrial and logistics services business. Mr Haddon plans to start the new role on January 1.

Twitter: @marcpallisco
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