Lips tight: Welsh Church sells CBD land for $20m

A major development site behind Melbourne's Welsh Church has reportedly sold for close to $20million.

A major development site behind Melbourne's Welsh Church has reportedly sold for close to $20million.

The Welsh Church, on La Trobe Street between Elizabeth and Queen, owned a sizeable chunk of valuable CBD real estate that stretches beside and behind the 1871 Gothic Revival building to A'Beckett Street.

The church had subdivided the block and already sold another portion in 2010, facing La Trobe Street, to a developer for a undisclosed sum.

A caveat was lodged on the property in 2010 by Urbanest La Trobe Street Pty Ltd after the sale. The caveat was varied in November last year and applies to one section of the subdivision facing La Trobe Street.

Urbanest is a UK-based international student accommodation company. It has company directors based in Sydney and Dubai.

Late last year the Welsh Church put the remaining half of the block - about 1896 square metres - up for sale with expectations in excess of $16 million.

The single-level former factory site at 127-141 A'Beckett Street that was sold this month is leased to Regal Parking.

Industry sources said the site was purchased by an Asian-based offshore developer but interests associated with the sale were tight-lipped about details.

Church congregation member and assistant treasurer Darren Gardiner would not disclose the sale price or buyer.

Any funds received would be used to help restore the existing building and for other purposes, he said.

Lachie Donaldson, from Donaldson Trumble lawyers acting for the trustees of the church, said: "I am instructed by my client to reveal nothing.

"It is of your interest, but it is none of your business. The property is off the market."

Selling agents Mark Wizel and Josh Rutman from CBRE also refused to comment.

The land had been owned by the Welsh Church for more than 100 years and is in a prime high-density, mixed-use location.

Because of its proximity to RMIT and Melbourne Universities, A'Beckett Street has been the site of a string of high-rise developments.

Excavations are under way for a two large residential towers, one 45 storeys and the other 28, on the opposite side of the street from the Welsh Church land near Fulton Lane.

Malaysian-based developer Setia Australia is building 480 apartments on the site.

Another Malaysian-based developer, Mammoth Empire, has begun construction on the 55-storey MY80 project on the corner of A'Beckett and Elizabeth streets.

At number 25, the striking black A'Beckett Tower, a 34-storey residential building with 287 units designed by Elenberg Fraser, was completed two years ago.

sjohanson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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