Mixed-use future for RSL's Elwood site

Boutique local developer Piccolo is planning a major mixed-use complex in Elwood after paying the Returned and Services League almost $6.3 million for its outgoing club in Ormond Road.

Boutique local developer Piccolo is planning a major mixed-use complex in Elwood after paying the Returned and Services League almost $6.3 million for its outgoing club in Ormond Road.

The 1404-square-metre block on the south-west corner of Pine Avenue and at the edge of the popular retail strip, will be replaced with a luxury apartment complex with ground floor shops.

Piccolo bought the site a week after a public tender campaign, which closed late last month. Chisholm & Gamon's Torsten Kasper and Sam Gamon represented the RSL, which has stopped operating from the venue.

Director Michael Piccolo said the proposed development would be the company's first in Elwood.

Across town, Piccolo has sold almost all apartments within a 17-level Carlton development it announced last year, Upper House. The developer paid the Electrical Trades Union about $5 million for the Swanston Street site. The company is also responsible for the Garden House complex opposite the Carlton Gardens near the top of town.

The RSL has been an active property player in recent years. About two years ago it listed for sale a collection of assets in Melbourne's south-east, after paying $9.5 million for a 1.5-hectare site in Cheltenham which it wanted to develop as a central new complex.

About the same time, the RSL made $2.4 million offloading an 1895 city property in Windsor Place and $3 million selling its St Kilda West branch.

Bye-bye bar?

Iconic St Kilda venue Dogs Bar could close early next year to make way for a site redevelopment.

The three-storey Fitzroy Street property, which includes a bar on the lower level and residential apartments above, has been listed for sale with price expectations of up to $8 million.

Gross Waddell's Andrew Waddell, the selling agent with Pride Real Estate's Tony Pride and Margaret Duncan, says it is the first time the whole building has been offered for sale. He expects interest from bar and hotel operators as well as investors and developers.

The site is owned by a group that has, over the past 15 or so years, bought the strata-titled apartments and lower-level retail components.

The property includes a rooftop terrace often seen in local television shows. The bar is committed to the lower level of the building until January 2014. The space on exclusive Acland Street has the potential to earn about $180,000 in annual rent. The asset includes a restaurant, wine bar, liquor licence and seating outdoors and in.

Rural boom

The building boom that has taken over Melbourne's city and suburbs appears to be reaching regional Victoria, too, with the government this week announcing plans to occupy an as yet unbuilt four-level office in Traralgon.

No. 8-12 Seymour Street will be occupied by the Department of Human Services and Environment Protection Authority.

It will include ground-floor retail, 71 car spaces and 17 bike spots.

Construction is expected to start later this year.

Last year in Bendigo, a five-level office and car park building opened, setting a height record for the region.

Google moves in

This month Google Maps identified the four new suburbs earmarked for development as part of the multibillion Fishermans Bend proposal affecting land in South Melbourne and Port Melbourne, between Docklands and the beach.

Lorimer, Montague, Sandridge and Wirraway are now electronically marked despite the state opposition saying it would scrap the Fishermans Bend proposal as pitched by Planning Minister Matthew Guy if it won office next year. To date the Montague pocket of Fishermans Bend, closest to the CBD, has attracted the most development, with 21 skyscrapers announced. The zone covers 240 hectares.

Carpet sale

After almost 60 years the Victoria Carpet Company, a subsidiary of Victorian PLC which is listed on the British stock exchange, is selling out of Dandenong.

Its two-hectare site at 7-29 Gladstone Road is expected to sell for about $7 million.

VCC is selling the site with a 10-year leaseback paying a starting annual rent of $690,000. The site abuts a Bunnings warehouse. Crabtrees' Grant Tishler and Gavan Dumas are the marketing agents.

Fixture no more

Six months after announcing it would cut 230 Australian jobs as part of a restructure, global bathroom fixtures and fittings company GWA Group has offloaded a prominent site in a pocket of Blackburn known among occupants as the Golden Mile.

The 190-192 Whitehorse Road property is understood to have sold for about $5 million to an investor who plans to refurbish the space once GWA leaves.

Refurbished, the 4500-square-metre building on a 9000-square-metre block has the potential to earn annual rent of about $540,000 according to sources. It's unknown whether the building will make way for one large showroom or a series of smaller ones potentially able to rent for a greater rate per square metre.

David Butera of new agency Butera & Co brokered the deal but declined to comment when contacted by Capital Gain.

Brunswick sale

A developer has paid $6.6 million for a major residential development site in the inner north suburb of Brunswick East.

The 3900-square-metre block at 92-96 Albert Street, between Lygon and Nicholson streets, sold with a permit for a six-storey apartment block with 118 apartments and four office suites.

The new owner, a local developer, will develop the project according to the permit.

Paul Castran, director of Castran Gilbert, confirmed the off-market sale when contacted. The site was reported as sold two years ago to an offshore buyer, and last year to a local buyer - but both fell through. Castran Gilbert is now representing the new owner marketing the apartments. A project launch is scheduled for August.

Last month a residential developer paid $4 million for the former Aurora Floor Coverings site at 774-778 Sydney Road in a deal brokered by Vinci Carbone and Teska Carson. That site is expected to make way for about 100 flats.

Not far away Little Projects is converting the former Tip Top bread factory into a village with the tallest building rising seven levels.

marcpallisco@gmail.com

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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