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Super-dense tower planned for city site

Alocal developer has applied to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy to develop a $300 million super-dense skyscraper at the top of town.
By · 21 Sep 2013
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21 Sep 2013
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Alocal developer has applied to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy to develop a $300 million super-dense skyscraper at the top of town.

ICD Property - whose website promises "environmentally friendly visual statements" - plans to replace a 1896 square metre site at 127-141 A'Beckett Street with a 63-level tower with 632 flats and 212 car parks.

The proposed 196-metre complex, designed by Elenberg Fraser, would be almost 100 metres shorter than the landmark 92-level Eureka Tower in Southbank but would include 77 more apartments.

ICD Property paid the Welsh Church $19 million for the site in April - about $3 million more than was initially anticipated.

Behind an 1871 Gothic Revival church, the religious group owned the property for more than 150 years. In recent years it leased a low-rise factory on the block to a car park operator.

Formerly full of low-rise factories, A'Beckett Street offers large sites developers are quickly filling with skyscrapers.

At the corner of Elizabeth Street, Malaysia-based Mammoth is developing a 55-level, 487-unit complex, MY80. Last month it lodged an application with Mr Guy to develop a 465-unit, 55-level building across the road.

Setia Australia, another Malaysian developer, is also developing in the area - almost 500 flats within a 45-level and 28-level tower.

Safety Beach project

Advisory firms KordaMentha and PPB - which often appear in these pages in the capacity of receivers for struggling developers - have teamed with Melbourne builder Three Pillars to complete one of Victoria's most controversial developments in Safety Beach.

The $650 million Martha Cove project, about 65 kilometres south of Melbourne, was approved in late 2002 and is expected to include about 1100 mostly medium-density dwellings, 750 marina berths, an aged care facility and a commercial precinct.

The most valuable land, closest to Port Phillip Bay, was developed prior to the 2008 economic downturn. Busy Marine Drive was controversially sunk underground to allow water from the bay to flow into man-made inland canals.

Rights to develop various parts of the 94-hectare Martha Cove project have been offered several times since 2008. A major chunk of the project was offered for private sale earlier this year.

The new consortium is offering townhouses and stand-alone homes of up to five bedrooms, some with direct access to a jetty berth and the marina boardwalk.

Three Pillars was an astute, active property purchaser throughout the recent downturn. It has made a habit of buying properties, such as former education facilities, where government taxes are not payable.

Dennis Family sells up

The Dennis Family Group, established in 1960 and now run by second generation family members, is selling the Malvern East office it developed in 1989 and has occupied since.

The 2137 square metre office on a 1625 square metre block at 207-213 Waverley Road is for sale with a leaseback to the home builder, which will pay a starting rent of about $637,200 for the building and 74 car parks.

Kliger Wood selling agents Nick Breheny and Eugene Wood are marketing the building with GormanKelly's Robert Kelly. About $7.5million is expected from the sale.

Southbank block sold

A developer has paid about $5.5 million for an 860 square metre Southbank block near the Kings Way off-ramp of the West Gate Freeway.

The site at 61-63 Haig Street is now expected to make way for a 30-plus level apartment tower joining a string of them popping up beside the busy freeway, travelling east, as it approaches the Burnley Tunnel entrance.

A permit to develop another 30-plus level apartment building with almost 300 flats was this week granted for a site next door to 61-63 Haig Street, which has been owned by one family since 1969. Beller Commercial director Fred Nucara sold the asset.

Haig Street is close to the western edge of Crown Casino on Clarendon Street. Apartment development is also very active immediately around the southern entrance of the casino, on nearby Clarke Street.

Last year, 61-63 Haig Street was offered for sale with a neighbouring property, asking about $14 million. Mr Nucara said plenty of developers are instead seeking sites for smaller-scale developments - around 30 levels.

Probuild relocates

Prominent developer Probuild - also a major Melbourne landlord - will bank $8.2 million after selling two neighbouring office buildings, including its former headquarters, in Albert Road, South Melbourne.

The largest building - Probuild's former head office at 228-230 Albert Road, was an entrant in the Master Builders Association of Victoria's Excellence in Construction Award a few years ago.

It sold to a private super fund last month and will be retained as an investment. Probuild meanwhile has relocated to St Kilda Road.

The free-standing building next door at 226 Albert Road was recently refurbished. Both buildings offer water views over Albert Park Lake.

Robert Kelly and Mario Nobrega of GormanKelly sold the assets off-market.

Moonee Ponds dissent

More opponents are emerging to Moonee Valley Racing Club's plans to develop new streets and a high density village along the Moonee Ponds racetrack's western and northern boundary.

Moonee Valley mayor Narelle Sharpe tells Fairfax Media the Moreland City Council will join it opposing the proposal. Moreland council controls land on the eastern side of the Tullamarine Freeway. The club is proposing towers, the tallest rising 12-levels, along the western wall of the freeway.

Community advocate group Save Moonee Ponds opposes, among other things, a grandstand being developed across the road from the Moonee Ponds Primary School in Wilson Street.

Camberwell deal struck

Bennelong Property Funds Management is understood to be close to selling a six-level, 5420 square metre office near the Camberwell Junction for about $20.5 million.

The fully-leased building at 250 Camberwell Road in Camberwell was offered for sale with a 10-year lease to the ASX-listed Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, which occupies 90 per cent of the building.

With frontage to both Burke and Camberwell roads, the building includes a large 127-bay car park as well as a ground floor retail component occupied by Degani Cafe.

The asset returns annual rent of $1.8 million and sold to a Sydney-based syndicate on an approximate 8.8 per cent yield. Colliers International's Peter Bremner and Rob Joyes represented Bennelong Property Funds Management with Jones Lang LaSalle's Robert Anderson and Steven Messina.

Earlier this week, private developer George Saade sold a five level, 4668 square metre office at 543 Bridge Road, Richmond, for $24.25 million. This office sold on a yield of 7.6 per cent.

Twitter: @marcpallisco
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