Soap plan washes up at Fishermans Bend

A $250 MILLION application to build the first Fishermans Bend project that will bear a Port Melbourne postcode is being reviewed by Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

A $250 MILLION application to build the first Fishermans Bend project that will bear a Port Melbourne postcode is being reviewed by Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

The permit request, to build 258 triple-storey townhouses on an industrial site, for generations the headquarters of the soap maker known as Symex, will see homes built in and around heritage-listed buildings on Woodruff and Ingles streets, opposite the Port Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Lodged last Friday by private developer Harry Stamoulis, the project is the second Fishermans Bend proposal being reviewed by Mr Guy, who rezoned the required 240-hectares of land in Port Melbourne and South Melbourne last July.

On completion, Fishermans Bend will include four neighbourhoods: Lorimer, Montague, Sandridge and Wirraway.

Just before Mr Guy's announcement was made, Mr Stamoulis agreed to pay Symex, which recently changed its name to Pental, $25 million for the four-hectare site at the southernmost end of the Sandridge precinct. Interests associated with Pental are believed to have acquired the Port Melbourne site for a candle-making business more than 150 years ago.

Last month, Sydney-based developers lodged plans for a 50-storey, 381-unit tower on Ferrars Street, South Melbourne, estimated to have have an end value of about $200 million. That proposal is within the Montague precinct, across from the light rail and opposite a yet-to-be-constructed primary school.

Little Lon advantage

VANTAGE Property has purchased a CBD office once owner-occupied by law firm Slater & Gordon and also, as an investment, by the late Richard Pratt.

The Dominion building at 533 Little Lonsdale Street sold for $19.5 million, reflecting a market yield of about 9.8 per cent based on the building's potential annual rent of $1.9 million.

Knight Frank's Paul Henley and Langton McHarg were the marketing agents.

Stellar education site

THE Southern Cross Education Institute has paid $3.55 million for a North Melbourne office near CityLink. The school will be the owner-occupier of the double-storey 1457-square-metre building at 155-161 Boundary Road near premises it occupies in Dynon Road, West Melbourne.

ICR Property Group director Guy Naselli with Raff De Luise marketed the site, which overlooks a 7-11 convenience store on the corner of Racecourse Road. The school's new North Melbourne office includes 18 basement car parks.

Peppermint and beef

FRANK Whitford, who before retiring in 2005 was the chief executive of the Mitre 10 group, is selling a prominent rural holding.

Peppermint Grove at 785 Northwood Road in Seymour spreads over 130 hectares and has four neighbouring stud properties. The property has been developed for 10 years by Whitford and wife Teena as an intensive beef cattle holding.

The farm is about eight kilometres from central Seymour, 95 kilometres north of the CBD. The Whitfords are developing a larger property at Numurkah, past Shepparton.

Pat Rice & Hawkins Bart O'Sullivan and Peter Hawkins, with RT Edgar Yarra Valley's Andrew Houghton are quoting about $2 million for Peppermint Grove, which is expected to attract lifestyle and business investors.

Les is more Reservoir

COLOURFUL private investor Les Smith has snapped up a major Reservoir shopping centre, offered with a permit for a $200 million-plus mixed-use development with a new retail layout and two apartment towers, the tallest of which will rise to 15 levels.

Known as 850 Plenty Road the 4.2-hectare site has been on the market at various stages over the past few years. Mr Smith picked it up for about $18 million last month.

In October it was reported Mr Smith paid about $55 million for an office with residential redevelopment potential at 499 St Kilda Road, abutting Fawkner Park.

Last June Mr Smith sold an office at 108 Power Street in Hawthorn for $17.5 million. A year earlier, he unsuccessfully tried to recover $100 million from the retail component of a mixed-use project built into a former cinema at 206 Bourke Street.

Near 850 Plenty Road, in Bundoora, MAB this week listed for sale a large retail section of its $1 billion-plus University Hill project, which it has been developing in stages since 2004. MAB famously paid RMIT University just $21 million for the 104-hectare site at the time.

MAB can expect about $40 million, sources say, for its latest retail offering with two major land parcels each of about 8000 square metres, as well as the retail development returning $2.8 million in annual rent. CBRE's Mark Wizel is marketing the site with Justin Dowers.

Price transformation

RECEIVERS have sold a prominent Bentleigh office which was known for years as the Transformers Nightclub.

The investment at 973 Nepean Highway, at the busy corner of South Road, also the suburb border to Brighton East, Hampton East and Moorabbin, is believed to have sold for about $25 million, the price attached to the asset when it hit the market in October.

Seven months earlier, before administrators were involved, the building was for sale for about $35 million.

The 11,835-square-metre asset with ground-floor retail was developed in the 1980s. At one stage it was owned by Foster's.

Knight Frank's Paul Henley and Marcus Quinn were the marketing agents but declined to comment when contacted by Capital Gain.

One by one for ISPT

SYDNEY-BASED property fund ISPT has refused to commit to building the six skyscrapers recently permitted by ministerial intervention for the former Age site at 250 Spencer Street.

Responding to industry speculation, and a record of value-adding then selling-down the site, chief executive officer Daryl Browning told Capital Gain that ISPT would proceed with each element of the $800 million proposal on its merit. He said the company would start the project, adding it was disappointing the permit took nine months to achieve.

Dubbed a "city within a city" ISPT's permit allows for towers rising up to 63-levels. In total it will yield almost 3000 flats and house some 5000 residents across 1.2 hectares.

In 2010 ISPT sold a 3420-square-metre portion of the Age site to developer Central Equity for $17 million, after obtaining a permit for 748 flats within two towers, rising 51 and 40 levels respectively.

ISPT with joint venture partner Axiom paid Fairfax Media $66.1 million for the 1.52-hectare site six years ago.


Twitter: @marcpallisco

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