Planning Minister Matthew Guy stands accused of "unbelievable" behaviour for reversing a call on a 21-level apartment project he asked to be developed at one of Richmond's most prominent sites.
In an unusual public airing of the ministerial planning process as it happens behind closed doors, Caydon managing director Joe Russo said he withdrew plans for a 12-level office building two years ago to redesign the new building to a height and use suggested by the state government.
Caydon's proposed development would replace factories on the former Beaver Plastics industrial plant at 17-21 Harcourt Parade, abutting the Monash Freeway.
It would temporarily dwarf the neighbouring (approximate 12-level high) silos that support the Nylex clock. Two towers rising up to 20 levels are mooted to replace the silos, with the Nylex sign to be refitted atop one of them.
Mr Guy announced the first stage of the Nylex site redevelopment last year, a move that the site owner branded premature.
Mr Russo said his company was happy to build a 12-level residential building on the Harcourt Parade site.
"I understand development ideals change, but after two years of waiting and not to gain the permit for a height the government specifically requested, or even a 12-storey residential permit, is unbelievable. The proposal would provide economic stimulus," Mr Russo said.
In the past two years developers have targeted the Cremorne pocket of Richmond, replacing industrial stock with office and residential complexes. Last August the state government sold a Kangan TAFE building in Gwynne Street to a residential developer for $9.25 million.
A spokeswoman for Mr Guy said the minister ultimately refused the developer's request to override the council and approve a high-rise project.
"No permit application is ever guaranteed," she said.
Earlier this year Caydon paid $20.9 million for a St Kilda site that Mr Guy controversially permitted to become a 26-level, 300-unit apartment tower in 2011.
Watch this airspace
The Longrain restaurant - which was known as the William Angliss & Co Stables generations before being known as an exclusive eatery - sold at auction this week for $5.3 million, about $550,000 more than initially expected.
Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, the 1020-square-metre building traded 10 years ago for $3.8 million.
Those with longer memories will recall the building was once owned by business identities Charlie Pellegrino and John Khoury, a reportedly close ally of underworld figure Mick Gatto.
Based on the annual rent paid by Longrain ($290,389), the two-level brick building sold on a yield of 5.4 per cent.
CVA Property Consultant's joint managing director Ian Angelico and colleague Bradley Ellul marketed the property, which sits on a large, 510-square-metre block.
Given Equiset Grollo's recent proposal to build a 54-level building on a 483-square-metre block in Collins Street - redevelopment of airspace above the Longrain, in Chinatown, is a consideration.
Mr Angelico said the property at 40-46 Little Bourke Street sold to a consortium of investors.
Longrain has operated from the building since 2005. It also trades in Surry Hills in inner-city Sydney.
For-sale signs back up
Three years after selling to a residential developer for $6.2 million, the Flinders Caravan Park on the Mornington Peninsula has been re-listed for sale.
The two-hectare site at 1-17 The Avenue is being offered as a whole, with a new permit to subdivide the park into 25 residential lots. It is expected to sell for about the same money this time around, but this could not be confirmed with selling agents Jonathon McCormack of Gross Waddell and Leonard Teplin of Marshall White Hawthorn.
The site is about 150 metres from the beach. According to tourism material, Flinders and the neighbouring pocket of Cape Schanck have the cleanest air in the world. The holiday hamlet is bound to the east by Western Port and to the south by Bass Strait.
Lower rise in Montague
Another development site in the inner-city precinct to be known as Montague is close to sale, for about $3 million.
The 592 City Road site is at the southern edge of Montague and Fishermans Bend - a 240-hectare parcel recently rezoned by Mr Guy for intense, residential-based redevelopment. So far, plans for 21 apartment towers, the tallest rising more than 50 levels, have been submitted to replace the low-rise factories.
The Fishermans Bend planning process has been criticised - based on expensive research. The City of Port Phillip council wants a much lower density redevelopment than is eventuating.
If the ALP wins the 2014 state election, opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said planning control of the land would revert to the Port Phillip and Melbourne councils.
Richard Curtain of selling agency Lemon Baxter said he expected an approximately 15-level residential tower would replace the 686-square-metre City Road site. A larger tower might not be possible given setback constraints, the block being opposite low-rise dwellings in Albert Park, Port Melbourne and South Melbourne.
Portland land banking
Prestige car wholesaler and property investor Nick Theodossi has purchased four hectares of industrial land in a residential precinct of Portland, about 360 kilometres south-west of Melbourne.
Mr Theodossi bought the site at 78 Wade Street as a land bank. It is expected to yield more than 30 lots when rezoned for residential use and on-sold.
Portland, which includes the only deep-water port between Melbourne and Adelaide, has become a popular seaside hub.
More than a dozen homes for sale in Portland are carrying an asking price of more than $1 million. Vinci Carbone marketed the site with Stonebridge Property Group.
Kroger moving on
Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger has quietly listed for sale the Prahran mansion he bought unrenovated in 2010 and converted into a bachelor pad following his separation from Ann Peacock in 2009.
The property had been for sale a couple of times before Mr Kroger bought it, with agents targeting commercial investors. The six-bedroom mansion was expected to become a large boutique shop, restaurant or office. It sits on a large block able to accommodate a private car park.
When Kroger bought it, the owners were asking about $2 million.
Mr Kroger is now linked romantically to the former ABC board member and Sydney-based columnist Janet Albrechtsen.