New wild west could enrich state by $100m

The cash-strapped Napthine government can expect about $100 million from the sale of a 125-hectare parcel recently gazetted to become a suburb.

The cash-strapped Napthine government can expect about $100 million from the sale of a 125-hectare parcel recently gazetted to become a suburb.

Point Cook West, about 28 kilometres west of Melbourne, was designated six months ago for a $1-billion-plus village likely to accommodate 5000 people in about 2000 houses of various densities.

The suburb abuts the huge former CSIRO facility, Victoria's largest state-owned infill development. Last November, Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced it would be redeveloped as Werribee East, a $10 billion employment precinct - "the capital of the new west".

The Point Cook West site is bound by the Princes Freeway and Sneydes and Hacketts roads. Revenue from the sale will fund an interchange connecting Sneydes Road to the freeway - in turn adding value to both urban projects.

Andrew Egan, director of selling agency Biggin Scott Land, said the site is being offered in three parts, each between 39 and 43 hectares. Central Equity, Peet and Villawood are other developers in the area, also near a retail and bulky goods strip in Hoppers Crossing.

Early last year, 12 landowners in the outer-western suburb of Rockbank amalgamated their properties to create a 92-hectare supersite, which sold to a developer for $47 million.

Other big metropolitan land sales include the 47-hectare former Eastern Golf Course in Doncaster, which sold in 2011 for $100 million, and a 56-hectare former brickworks in Wantirna South, which sold in 2007 for about the same price. Mirvac is marketing residential villages at both these sites.

Permit's in the mail

Australia Post is also set to profit from some recent ministerial intervention.

The government agency can expect about $22 million from the sale of 640-652 Bourke Street, an asset it bought in 1974 and since has failed to sell at various stages since 1991.

Last year, Australia Post applied for a permit to replace assorted historic warehouses on the site with a 42-level, 563-unit apartment tower with 249 car parks and four ground level shops. So big was the proposal, it needed to be decided by the Planning Minister. Permission was granted three weeks ago.

The site spreads over 2764 square metres and also has frontage to Little Bourke Street. Savills' Clinton Baxter and Nick Peden are representing Australia Post, which is undergoing a series of strategic business initiatives led by former NAB chief Ahmed Fahour. Australia Post has sold several commercial assets over the past few years.

Not far away, on a 3600-square-metre portion of the former Age headquarters, developer Central Equity recently obtained permits for two apartment towers rising 40 and 52 levels, with a total of about 850 flats.

Balwyn portfolio grows

Eastern suburbs real estate agent Paul Walker is quietly assembling a valuable portfolio of adjoining Balwyn sites.

Walker is the mystery buyer who this week paid $2.9 million for a modest Midas-leased outlet at 267 Whitehorse Road. The block spreads 836 square metres and is not far from Paul Walker's First National office at 279 Whitehorse Road.

Diagonally opposite Balwyn Park and near the historic Palace Cinema, Mr Walker's holding has large-scale residential redevelopment potential. Billy Holderhead and Sam Newton of Burgess Rawson auctioned the Midas property. Mr Walker was unavailable when contacted.

All's well with sale

A Heidelberg West office-warehouse property, leased to multinational tenant Sick Pty Ltd, sold to a private investor for $4.15 million this week, representing a healthy yield of about 8 per cent.

The double-storey 3630- square-metre building at 5 Helen Street was only recently leased for five years with a five-year option. The German company specialises in sensory intelligence and works with Australia's airports and terminals. ICR Property Group's Guy Naselli sold the building with Raff De Luise.

McHarg moves on

Former Colliers chairman Bill McHarg - who famously took on then prime minister John Howard in the Q&A session of a public event, then in 2008 explained his climate change fears on an episode of ABC's Australian Story, has joined boutique builder Fridcorp.

Since resigning from Colliers in 2007 after 35 years, Mr McHarg has undertaken private property developments. His Fridcorp role is as a group commercial adviser.

In a separate employment deal, long-time Colliers director Andrew Tracey has quit to set up with rival CBRE, filling a void left more than a year earlier when Hamish Sutherland joined competitor Knight Frank.

McGoldrick block sold

Receivers for high-profile healthcare professional Ian McGoldrick have sold another of his prime properties.

This time in Ringwood an undisclosed investor is speculated to be paying about $4 million for a 6.1-hectare block at 441-443 Maroondah Highway.

The property was offloaded with a permit for a showroom development. Zoned for residential development, the selling agents speculate that the site could be converted to a medium density village with up to 180 lots.

Biggin & Scott Land's Andrew Egan marketed the site with Foxwood agents Peter Kalaf and Clint Willoughby. Last month, administrators sold a Cotham Road, Kew, office controlled by Mr McGoldrick.

Taste of Calabria

The Calabrian dialect and some of the region's finest food will continue to be served within the walls of 194-204 Faraday Street, Carlton, with Sydney-based Italian-restaurant Criniti's committing to all space vacated by coffee and cake institution Brunetti's.

The upmarket bistro plans to open after a renovation that will incorporate upstairs space formerly leased as office suites. The kitchen will be moved and a new staircase will be added, according to hospitality sources.

After 27 years, Brunetti's announced last year it would relocate - coincidentally to the 380 Lygon Street space where the Carlton cafe was established in 1974. Brunetti's reopened those doors last week.

Criniti's, which promises authentic food from the Calabrian region and has a specialist dessert arm that could rival Brunetti's, trades from five Sydney locations including Woolloomooloo's exclusive Cowper Wharf Road, Castle Hill, Darling Harbour, Manly and Parramatta.

The Carlton lease includes 420 square metres of ground-level space, spread across four shop fronts, and believed to be worth more than $1000 a square metre a year in rent. Criniti's will occupy a further 350 square metres upstairs.

Leasing agent Ben Tremellen of Colliers International declined to comment.

Email: marcpallisco

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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