Neighbourly headache close to home for Hird

Suspended Essendon coach James Hird may not get the peace and quiet he expects next year, with a developer lodging plans last month to build a block of flats abutting his Toorak abode.

Suspended Essendon coach James Hird may not get the peace and quiet he expects next year, with a developer lodging plans last month to build a block of flats abutting his Toorak abode.

The application, affecting a block in Trawalla Avenue that was until recently a mansion and tennis court owned by businessman Rodney Smorgon - requests a three-storey complex with 16 car parks.

Prominently featured in news reports throughout the 2013 season, Hird's 80-year old Toorak property - also with a tennis court and on a 1436-square-metre block - is valued at $9 million. Hird paid $2.4 million in 1998 - renting it out until the mid-2000s.

The 110-square-metre house was developed by merchant Edward Hayne and later owned by horse breeder Norman Carlyon and brick-maker owner John Shergold - who sold it to Hird.

One lucrative Bombers backer undeterred by recent events is Mario Salvo - whose proposed Platinum apartment complex in Southbank is a major sponsor of the Essendon Women's Network Finals Lunch next month.

"It's a tough time for all Essendon supporters and we wanted to show our support and commitment to the club moving forward," Mr Salvo said.

McGoldrick offloading

Healthcare professional Ian McGoldrick has sold another Kew asset.

This time, at 85-87 High Street, near the Kew Junction, a 2285-square-metre, three-level office with a 62-bay car park has been sold for about $9 million.

Currently returning $705,000, the asset was sold on a yield of 7.8 per cent, considered low given a looming large vacancy. Jones Lang LaSalle director Joshua Tebb and Peter Sprekos were the marketing agents.

"Such strong demand, in particular from investors, was surprising given the upcoming vacancy of the GTA tenancy, an occupier of approximately 70 per cent of the building. Typically, purchasers would apply a discount due to the vacancy and the reletting risk," Mr Sprekos said.

Mr Tebb said Boroondara's office vacancy rate is 7.85 per cent compared with the south-east suburb average of 9.4 per cent.

Earlier this year another of Mr McGoldrick's Kew office assets at 17-27 Cotham Road was sold for $10.2 million. He also offloaded a 6.1-hectare Ringwood development site, capable of yielding 180 dwellings, for $4 million.

Going up in Preston

Darebin City Council has identified 35 hectares of under-utilised commercial land in Preston East to rezone for intense residential development - which may include the suburb's tallest buildings.

The zone, bound by Chifley Drive, Albert, Bell and Gower streets, is south of the Northland Shopping Centre, a public transport hub that successive state governments regard as a major activity centre.

Identified in a 2012 council study as under-occupied, the Preston East tract includes 19 blocks owned by 10 interests.

It accommodates 53 businesses employing 673 people.

Council plans to fit 13,000 occupants within the space - 7000 as workers and the balance as high-rise dwellers. Building height limits have not been imposed.

Nine kilometres north of the CBD, the area's highest profile and newest business is Masters hardware. One of the occupants, Cigweld employs just 41 staff, down from 1000 more than 10 years ago.

A green donation

R.E. Ross Trust - through subsidiary Hillview Quarries - has donated 47 hectares - the equivalent of 25 MCGs - to the Cardinia Shire Council for use as a recreation reserve.

The Officer and Pakenham land, protected by a Trust for Nature conservation covenant, was purchased in the 1980s for a quarry expansion that never happened.

Between Bathe and Carpenter roads, about 50 kilometres south-east of the CBD, and known as Hillview Bushland Reserve, the parcel is bisected by Officer-Upper Beaconsfield Road.

An adjacent seven hectares has been subdivided as nine residential lots and will be sold, all proceeds being donated to charity.

Mayor Brett Owen said the "generous" donation of about $15 million was an example of how business, local government and philanthropy could work together for the lasting benefit of the community.

Five reasons to invest

A 15-year-old Richmond office known as Building Five within an exclusive business park at 658 Church Street has been sold for $10.8 million.

Syndicator and investment manager Vantage Property Investments purchased the four-level, 2200-square-metre office on behalf of a North American investor.

On the north-west corner of Walnut and Dale streets, the office is one of five developed on a former SEC power station near the Yarra River and Monash Arterial. It returns high $800,000s rent.

Vantage director Hamish DeCrespigny, who acted with colleague Matt Spring, said it will now manage a program to enhance capital value and rental return for the new owner.

Low-rise offices in the Richmond business park have been mooted as ripe for residential redevelopment in the longer term. Jones Lang LaSalle's Joshua Tebb represented the Richmond vendor.

Once hallowed ground

The Anglican Church is offloading another property, this time in day spa county Hepburn Springs.

The site, which includes an Anglican church and the adjacent Borsa Hall, will be offered with vacant possession and is expected to sell for about $285,000. On the corner of Ninth and Church avenues, the 880-square-metre block with buildings developed circa 1917, is expected to attract interest from an investor who may redevelop, or lease the building to a spa-themed operator.

Close to Hepburn Spring's main street, and three kilometres from the more popular resort of Daylesford, about 115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, the site also lends itself to a hotel conversion. Demolishing it to build something new is also an option.

Pat Rice & Hawkins' Bart O'Sullivan is the marketing agent.

On the waterfront

The waterfront Harba Oyster Bar and Grill in Mornington sold for $3.2 million to an investor who requested a 30-day settlement, saying the rental return was substantially better than bank deposit rates.

Lemon Baxter agent Jonathan Walls said shorter settlement periods have become a negotiating tool for investors, a swath of whom have entered the market as Australia's interest rate continues to circle record lows.

Harba pays annual rent of $219,000 to occupy 786 The Esplanade. On that basis, the new owner is earning a return of 6.7 per cent.

Term deposits of $4 million or more, for five years, are offering between 3.4 and 5 per cent, according to conjunctional selling agent Richard Curtain.

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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