Defence site reprises Melbourne 2030 plan

WITH a new metropolitan planning strategy still two years away, government planners are continuing to cite the unpopular and supposedly redundant Melbourne 2030 planning strategy that supports high-density apartment proposals in the suburbs.

WITH a new metropolitan planning strategy still two years away, government planners are continuing to cite the unpopular and supposedly redundant Melbourne 2030 planning strategy that supports high-density apartment proposals in the suburbs.

In Coburg North, Moreland City Council is formalising the rezoning of a 2.5-hectare site that was for generations home to Australian Defence Apparel. Founded 101 years ago by the federal government as the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory, it was privatised in 1995.

The prominent site at 14-22 Gaffney Street, opposite the Batman train station, is earmarked for a $100-million-plus mixed use village with retail and commercial spaces, a new service lane and apartment towers rising from four to 10 stories. The project is expected to include a public housing component.

A redevelopment would mark the end of an era for ADA, which moved to the purpose-built Coburg North facility in 1971. In 1992 ADA moved manufacturing to a larger Bendigo plant. The Gaffney Street site sold to its present owners in mid-2011.

In its explanatory report, the council says that, being a strategic site, the Coburg North block must be developed in accordance with the strategic direction outlined in Melbourne 2030 and its update, Melbourne @ 5 Million.

After winning office in 2010, the Baillieu government made the popular decision to replace the former government's planning documents, saying it would undertake a two-year audit and consultation program to determine a new metropolitan planning model.

Last October, Planning Minister Matthew Guy released a discussion paper, but added the formal metropolitan planning strategy (which council planners can rely on) is still two years off.

Tradition continues

BIDDING will continue within the walls of the prominent Armadale building that was for years home to prestige auction house Sotheby's.

Charles Leski Auctions - which offers collection pieces such as pistols owned by Captain Cook and Ned Kelly, and cricket bats used by Don Bradman - has leased almost all 1350 square metres of the 926-930 High Street building.

Sotheby's made the surprise decision to quit Armadale last August, and two months ago moved to an owner-occupied gallery at 41 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.

The High Street office, listed for sale last year, sold on Friday last week to private investor Jack Gringlas for $4.6 million.

Chris Kombi, a director of city agency Fitzroys, negotiated the sale and lease deal. He said a 240-square-metre ground floor retail space - the only section of the building not to be occupied by Leski Auctions - is now for lease, targeting a high-end restaurant.

Charles Leski Auctions will relocate from Hawthorn East.

School's out, homes in

THE 1.7-hectare former Monash Primary School in Clayton, which the Department of Education sold to developer Three Pillars for $6.8 million last August, has been permitted to become a residential village with 66 townhouses, rising two and three levels.

Now the department is seeking to rezone five more former schools within the area, again with a view to selling the sites to residential developers.

The largest site, at 5.91 hectares, is the former Brandon Park Secondary School. Also up for rezoning are the Clayton and Clayton West primary schools (two-hectare sites), the Oakleigh South Primary School (1.8 hectares) and the former Monash Special Development School (one hectare).

Monash Council says rezoning the sites will help meet strong demand for more houses in the area.

Old mill for sale

RECEIVERS are selling historic buildings formerly associated with the Federal Woollen Mills in Geelong North.

The Industrial 1-zoned site includes buildings of about 29,000 square metres that have in recent years been occupied by one of the region's popular Mill Markets. Originally developed about 1914 for the Department of Defence as a textile mill, the factory at 13-35 Mackey Street was extended about 60 years ago.

With development potential, the 5.4-hectare parcel is four kilometres from the Geelong city centre. It's expected to sell for about $4 million, according to agents Sutherland Farrelly and Gartland Real Estate.

Function centre option

AHEAD of the Melbourne Grand Prix next month, a for-lease board will hang from one of Albert Park's most prominent waterfront buildings - the Powerhouse Function Centre. Located near an intersection with Queens Road and not far from the St Kilda border, the updated complex includes a 1000-square-metre internal function space with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake. It also includes a large outdoor terrace.

Jones Lang LaSalle's Jaycen Willox, managing the lease campaign with colleague Mathew George, said the space had a capacity for 992 patrons. The duo would not comment on rent, speculated to be about $180,000 annually.

The Powerhouse is controlled by Lord Somers Camp, a not-for-profit organisation that leases the building from Parks Victoria. Lord Somers Camp is offering an initial lease term of seven years.

Flat-out confident

BOUTIQUE builder Fridcorp continues to show confidence in Melbourne's middle-ring suburbs - proposing its next major apartment project site at Carnegie, about 12 kilometres south-east of town.

Fridcorp will develop the Morton Avenue project with the Crawford Group of Companies, directed by Carlton Football Club board member Mark LoGiudice. Opposite Carnegie train station, the complex will include one and two-bedroom flats.

Elsewhere in the suburbs, Fridcorp is developing a major residential village at Cheltenham about 20 kilometres south of town. It has also recently developed large-scale projects in South Yarra and South Melbourne.

Shopping centre sold

A PRIVATE investor has paid almost $17 million for a new shopping centre in Melbourne's burgeoning north-east.

The fully leased neighbourhood complex at 59 Mernda Village Drive in Mernda, about 30 kilometres from the CBD, is anchored by a 3200-square-metre Woolworths supermarket and also includes eight specialty shops covering 1000 square metres.

Chemist Warehouse and Bakers Delight are other major tenants contributing to the complex's annual rent of about $1.3 million. On that basis, the asset sold on a low yield of about 7.76 per cent.

The off-market deal was negotiated by Marc Leiba, director of Leiba Commercial. Mr Leiba said there was still a strong depth of demand for retail assets. The purchaser of the Mernda complex can also claim depreciation benefits and stamp duty savings.

Mernda is in a fast-growing part of Melbourne, within the Whittlesea council precinct. The targeted catchment for the Mernda complex, according to Mr Leiba, is 20,000.


Twitter: @marcpallisco

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