Melton estate to rise as neighbours unite

Ayear after the state government controversially expanded the urban growth boundary to include 7000 hectares of green wedge and farmland, four neighbours controlling 62 hectares of cliff-top land abutting the picturesque Melton Reservoir have united to sell their homes to a developer for $26 million.

Ayear after the state government controversially expanded the urban growth boundary to include 7000 hectares of green wedge and farmland, four neighbours controlling 62 hectares of cliff-top land abutting the picturesque Melton Reservoir have united to sell their homes to a developer for $26 million.

The four properties on Balmer Grange in Brookfield, 40 kilometres west of Melbourne, are expected to make way for one of the region's most exclusive housing estates. The development follows nearby Eynesbury - being developed in stages on a rural property owned for years by the Baillieu family.

Lend Lease, Mirvac and Stockland are among developers in the area that is undergoing a growth spurt following a $15 billion commitment in 2006 by the state government and local council to replace farms with housing, infrastructure and workplaces.

About midway to Ballarat, the Melton region includes dramatic scenery - particularly around Toolern Creek and the Grey Box Forest - which forms the gateway for residents to reach Eynesbury.

The Melton Reservoir has been off limits to large-scale development until now. One of Melton's most exclusive housing estates, with large blocks, is directly east of the reservoir surrounding the Strathtulloh mansion.

Andrew Egan of Biggin Scott Commercial Land said the Brookfield properties were included within government planning policies known as "logical inclusions". The farms are expected to be gazetted for more intense residential redevelopment shortly.

"The site was unique, offering panoramic frontage to the Melton Reservoir and when developed would likely see an additional 700 homes in the precinct," he said.

Agency director Frank Nagle marketed the Brookfield blocks with Mr Egan. It is believed to have sold to a local syndicate.

A few kilometres from the Melton South train station and near the multibillion-dollar Atherstone housing estate and TABCorp Park, Brookfield is also close to the Woodgrove Shopping Centre.

The sale is not the first time rural western suburbs neighbours have united to attract developers. Last February, 12 property owners sold an adjoining 92-hectare slice of Rockbank to one buyer for $47 million.

Last month, the Napthine government pocketed more than $100 million selling a 125-hectare block at Point Cook West, 28 kilometres west of Melbourne, to Perth-based Satterley Property Group. Part of those funds will be invested on an interchange connecting the Sneydes Road site to the Princes Freeway. Biggin Scott Commercial Land also marketed that site.

Old post office to grow

Architect Bruce Henderson is proceeding with a $7 million extension of historic inner-city premises, for years the South Yarra Post Office.

Land adjoining the train line on Toorak Road, opposite the South Yarra station, is being developed, with more than 1400 square metres of office space to be connected to the current office at 162 Toorak Road.

Bruce Henderson Architects has occupied the building since it was last used as a post office 40 years ago. In 2007, Henderson unsuccessfully tried to sell, saying the firm had outgrown the space. Since he decided to extend, South Yarra land values have surged.

On land east and north of the train station, developers are replacing former industrial sites with residential towers over 30 levels.

Indian bikes to move

Things are about to get busier around Montrose Street, Hawthorn East, one of several pockets in the suburb where factories near train stations are being replaced by apartment towers.

The owners of No. 6-8 have listed their 1270-square-metre corner block, with a permit for a 10-level, 110-unit apartment complex with ground floor retail. Two commercial buildings are on the site, one of which houses the world's largest collection of Indian motorcycles, according to selling agent Scott Orchard of CBRE who is marketing the property with Jamus Campbell.

Mr Orchard expects developers to contend for the site where "all the hard planning work has been done". It is expected to sell for about $7.5 million.

Next door, on a property that intersects with Burwood Road, the Brilliant Hawthorn apartment project launched this week. One-bedroom flats with a car park and storage in that block are selling for $368,000. Two-bedroom units with two bathrooms are priced near $600,000.

Chirnside Park options

Melbourne developer McMullin Group is expecting about $9 million from the sale of a commercial property with residential and retail redevelopment potential on a Chirnside Park corner.

The 3.8-hectare site at 238-240 Maroondah Highway, at the intersection with Manchester Road, is being marketed for its residential potential. A hotel, townhouse project, shopping centre or bulky goods complex are also possible uses for the site. Chirnside Park is about 10 kilometres east of Ringwood and 33 kilometres from the CBD.

The block is in the process of being rezoned, according to CBRE's Justin Clarkson and David Aiello who are marketing the site with Knight Frank's Ken Smirk and Leigh Morris.

Mr Clarkson estimates about 250 dwellings, configured as townhouses and apartments, could be built on the site. Mr Smirk said the property was well positioned in close proximity to a range of amenities and arterial links.

The site is near a Bunnings store often mooted to be one of the group's top performers nationally. Rival Masters is a potential suitor for the Chirnside Park site.

McMullin Group had planned to develop the site as a bulky goods centre, capitalising on its proximity to the shopping centre. The company builds aged-care, industrial, office and retail properties.

Ready at Bairnsdale

A Melbourne syndicate is offloading a 62-hectare development site in Bairnsdale, a regional town about 300 kilometres east of the city.

Expected to sell for about $8 million, the block is being offered with a permit for a 412-lot retirement village and shopping centre, likely to carry an end value of more than $60 million.

Andrew Egan of Biggin Scott Commercial Land said the East Gippsland site is "engineered, costed and ready to be developed".

The block is at the eastern entrance of the town. It was farmland prior to being rezoned a few years ago, forming part of a growth corridor expected to see the region's population rise to 12,000.

Bairnsdale is one of three main towns in the East Gippsland region, the others being Traralgon and Sale.

Block by The Block

Central Equity is keeping quiet about its plans to develop a block of land next door to the six-level former Biz Hotel, the subject of television show The Block.

Central Equity sold the hotel building in South Melbourne to The Block's producers Watercress for $6.7 million in late 2012. It retained a large portion of the 2092-square-metre block - which it bought for $6.25 million in 2007.

The developer is expected to build a low-rise residential project on its land, but will not yet confirm the height of the building.

Anything taller than six levels would rob city views enjoyed from upper level apartments within "The Block" at the corner of Park Street and Eastern Road.

Ten contestants are refitting the 41-room hotel into a low density building with one luxury apartment per floor.

Central Equity unsuccessfully tried to sell the entire South Melbourne site for $15 million in mid-2010.

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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