Melbourne's tallest suburban skyscraper is again proposed for Box Hill, with the owners of a prominent site lodging new plans to build a 34-level tower. Four years ago a 39-level apartment and hotel complex for the site was rejected.
Shanghai's AXF Group with joint-venture partner Barton Building Group have submitted a redesigned proposal to replace an open-air car park at the corner of Carrington and Station streets, near the Box Hill railway station and shopping centre, about 14 kilometres east of town.
The sleeker new project, Sovereign Square, will include about 2263 square metres of office space and more than 3300 square metres for restaurants. Almost 420 flats, many configured as studio apartments, will be developed in the part gold-glass building.
Importantly, a multi-level, 288-bay car park will be developed underground. An L-shaped 33-level design, proposed for 545 Station Street last year, then withdrawn, included an above-ground car park.
Only a couple of years earlier, former planning minister Justin Madden intervened to reject the 39-level proposal, which was to have been decided by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Box Hill is within a marginal state electoral seat and the tower would have been substantially taller than the suburb's next tallest building at the time (five levels).
However, both state governments have identified the suburb as a commercial and residential growth precinct and Box Hill is undergoing a building boom. The scale of high-density apartment development in Box Hill and nearby Doncaster is at times more sophisticated than some inner-city suburbs.
AXF director Richard Gu expects the proposed new tower will stimulate further commercial investment and engagement in Box Hill.
Founded in 1983, AXF opened a Melbourne office in 2005. Last year it bought a neighbouring office, giving the developer control of valuable airspace in Bourke Street. AXF also owns assets in nearby Box Hill North, Doncaster, Footscray and Heidelberg.
Operator up to par
Bayside City Council is seeking an operator to sign a 20-year lease to operate the Sandringham Golf Course.
The 18-hole, par-70 course in Cheltenham Road, Cheltenham, has been open to the public for nearly 50 years. It includes a lake, 30 bunkers, and has recently invested $840,000 in stormwater harvesting and reuse works.
The property's lease to the nearby Royal Melbourne Golf Club ends mid-next year according to a council spokeswoman.
Tenders to operate the course from that time will close in October. The council has not given an indication of expected rent. Often in these deals council considers the rental offered is less important than other factors such as an operator's experience or vision.
$7.1m for top spot
An investor has paid $7.1 million for a spectacularly located factory with residential redevelopment potential in Footscray West.
The park-side property at 40-44 Robbs Road sold with a new five-year lease guaranteeing annual rent starting at $686,000. However, the site - opposite Hansen Reserve and mostly surrounded by houses - is expected to be replaced with apartments in the longer term.
The 1.3-hectare site is opposite another factory recently permitted to be redeveloped as a 49-unit townhouse complex.
Footscray West is seven kilometres west of the CBD and offers easy access to central Footscray, a suburb earmarked for intense residential and commercial development. Agents Chris Kombi and Dean Alexander of Fitzroy's marketed the asset with Vinci Carbone's Frank Vinci and Joseph Carbone.
Sky roads guide
Developers seeking approval to build Melbourne's first 100-plus level super-scrapers will soon have access to a 3D-model of flight paths required for Essendon Airport, which is just 10 kilometres north-west of the CBD.
The initiative it is hoped "will provide a functional planning tool for the building and development industry".
As part of the Essendon Airport Master Plan, released last week and out for community consultation until November, it was acknowledged airspace was now a major focus, with developers starting to propose towers of 90 levels or more around Melbourne's inner city.
It was also acknowledged that many aviation functions still operate from Essendon, which was Melbourne's international airport until Tullamarine opened in 1970.
The Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development is creating the list of sky roads. The initiative may result in developers giving a lesser value to some sites than to others.
In an embarrassing gaffe earlier this year, Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved a 388-metre, 108-level building in Southbank, after a consultation period. Australia 108, which would have been the country's tallest skyscraper, was shelved shortly afterwards because of, in part, a requirement that airspace of more than 300 metres above the Kavanagh Street site be clear.
It is speculated that a building of about 90 levels will go on that site now.
Coastal town for sale
A portfolio of blocks, villas, houses and commercial properties in the coastal town of Port Campbell have been listed for sale by former Mirvac boss Richard Altson and ex-Hudson Conway director Peter Barraclough.
The realisation auction next month of the 21 assets - all around the Great Ocean Road - is expected to net about $9 million.
The largest asset, the Southern Cross Motor Inn, on a cliff-top overlooking the beach, is a freehold and business for sale as a going concern. It is expected to sell for about $2.5 million. The largest block measures about 6000 square metres and is expected to be used for a residential project.
Port Campbell is located about 220 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, between Apollo Bay and Warrnambool and near the Twelve Apostles. John H. Castran director John Castran is the marketing agent.
Club revival afoot
Once-popular drinking haunt the East Brunswick Club is believed to have sold again, after the developer who bought the hotel last year siphoned off the rear portion of land needed for an apartment complex.
The vacant pub at 280 Lygon Street, at the north-east corner of Albert Street, is believed to have been acquired by an investor who will offer it for lease soon. This means dwellers of the proposed six-level apartment building next door may be living next door to a revived hotel when they move into their units.
A restaurant or a mix of office and retail users are also possible suitors for the historic three-level building, which sold last September and closed for business early this year.