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Mammoth ups plans with CBD expansion

It proved profitable the first time, so Malaysian developer Mammoth is doing it again on the corner of Elizabeth and A'Beckett streets in the CBD.

It proved profitable the first time, so Malaysian developer Mammoth is doing it again on the corner of Elizabeth and A'Beckett streets in the CBD.

Mammoth this week lodged plans to replace a 1028-square-metre site at the block's south-east corner with a 55-level apartment building with 465 units and 96 car parks.

The proposed tower at 398-406 Elizabeth Street will rise opposite another 55-level tower at the north-east corner of A'Beckett Street, which Mammoth is developing as the MY80 Silver Skies building.

According to Mammoth's project director, Andrew Fortey of PDS Group, construction of the proposed building could start next year, when the MY80 building is due for completion.

Mammoth demolished a seven-storey office building on a 1012-square-metre block at 410 Elizabeth Street to develop MY80, which has 487 apartments. It paid $18 million for that office in 2010. It paid slightly less - $15.1 million - for 398-406 Elizabeth Street last year. A low-rise building on this block will be demolished.

New Grocon tower

Grocon has lodged plans to develop another dense residential building on a slice of the former Carlton & United Brewery site, abutting the city's northern tip.

The Melbourne developer is seeking to build a 20-level building on a subdivided portion of the brewery with a 60-metre frontage to Bouverie Street. The proposed building, with 218 flats, will include just seven car parks.

It is the latest tower in a string announced over the years by Grocon, which paid the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology $39 million for the 1.6 hectare former brewery in 2006.

In 2010, Grocon announced plans (but never sought a permit) to develop an 89-level, 800-unit residential complex, the DCM building, on a 2929- square-metre portion of the block. It then listed that portion of land for sale asking $40 million.

In 2011, it shelved a proposed apartment tower, Portrait, later relaunching another project, Swanston Square, on that portion of the brewery.

Grocon has also mooted an office tower for the land. A representative was unavailable.

Simonds' big move

Simonds Homes has leased a 2800-square-metre headquarters at 570 St Kilda Road - the biggest city-fringe office lease deal this year.

Simonds will consolidate from two offices in Albert Road, South Melbourne, to occupy almost three levels of the building, near the intersection of Moubray Street, an extension of Greville Street.

Net rents in the building are about $240 per square metre, per annum. However, tenants in St Kilda Road are offered among the highest "incentives" of any Melbourne office market.

For this deal, Simonds is understood to have secured a rental discount of about 30 per cent. Leasing of the building is being managed by Colliers International and Lemon Baxter.

The biggest lease deal in St Kilda Road last year was for 9000 square metres to Cancer Council Victoria. In 2011, Spotless Group signed the biggest deal, leasing all 9545 square metres of

549 St Kilda Road.

Ron Walker celebrates

Former lord mayor Ron Walker will celebrate the 10th anniversary of his development company this month at the launch of one the group's biggest projects - the Guilfoyle tower in South Melbourne.

With business partner Ashley Williams, Evolve Development formed when it acquired, then refurbished, an office park in Mulgrave. Its residential projects started small - including at one stage a land subdivision of a small hilltop farm in Keilor. Recently it has proposed major skyscrapers including Guilfoyle, which rises 21 levels from the former HSV7 studios and includes 353 flats.

Melbourne's last lord mayor, John So, has also dabbled in property, recently paying a speculated $4 million for a Russell Street building, one of several in a hospitality portfolio.

Banyule council sale

Banyule City Council is selling a prominent "gateway" site in Greensborough - about 17 kilometres north-east of Melbourne.

The block is for sale with a permit to develop two triple- storey buildings which will include a total of 943 square metres of retail at ground level, and 1696 square metres of office space above.

At the corner of Main Street and Greensborough Walk - a busy thoroughfare connecting pedestrians to the suburb's WaterMarc Aquatic and Leisure Centre - the sale is expected to boost council's coffers by about $1.65 million.

Knight Frank's Ken Smirk and Tim Grant said any new owner must start building within 18 months. Improvements on the land - two single-storey shops - could provide short-term rental return in the meantime.

High Street all action

More than $10 million in commercial real estate was listed for sale this week in the Prahran pocket of High Street.

In the biggest deal a 3500 square metre low-rise office at 121 - opposite Swinburne University - is expected to sell for about $8 million.

Another site, a shop east of Chapel Street at 223 High Street, is being offloaded by Zagame Corporation and expected to sell for about $2.2 million. Vinci Carbone is marketing both assets.

Not far away at 201-209 High Street, Prahran, developer Caydon is building a village, Trilogy, which includes three buildings and 323 flats.

Moonee Ponds market

After 16 years, a new owner of the Moonee Ponds Market is expected to be announced next week. A developer is understood to be in advanced negotiations to buy the 1.34 hectare site, opposite the Moonee Ponds train station - for a speculated $25 million.

US-based Reading bought the block with plans for a major entertainment complex.

However, despite numerous plans announced since that time, the most recent in 2009, Reading never turned a sod. The prime land is currently an open-air car park.

Reading listed the block in May with concept plans, but no permit, for a $250 million mixed-use development which would have included three apartment towers, the tallest rising 26 levels, a record height for the area.

It's expected the new owner will formulate a different, possibly denser future for the site, exploiting demand for apartments near the Puckle Street retail strip - and postcard city views.

Colliers International's Jeremy Gruzewski and Peter Bremner are representing Reading with CBRE's Justin Clarkson, Scott Orchard and Ari Petrovs.

Moonee Ponds, about seven kilometres north-west of town, is expected to see increased high-density development with other large tracts of land around the Moonee Valley Racecourse also recently mooted to make way for 25-level-plus towers.

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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