Zagame expands car empire in Richmond

Four adjoining brown brick factories will be extended and refurbished to become a luxury car showroom as busy Swan Street, Richmond, continues to fast dispense with its working-class roots.

Four adjoining brown brick factories will be extended and refurbished to become a luxury car showroom as busy Swan Street, Richmond, continues to fast dispense with its working-class roots.

Entrepreneur Bobby Zagame has paid close to $10 million for the properties between 408 and 414 Swan Street, which cover 3000 square metres and extend south to the train line, near the Burnley station.

The properties are only a few metres away from his motoring company's near-new headquarters at 430 Swan Street, which Mr Zagame developed after vacating the historic Bryant and May building around the corner on Church Street, owned by 1980s racing car driver Alan Jones.

Mr Zagame plans to refit the building as a dealership for Alfa Romeo and Fiat cars. He now controls about 9000 square metres on Swan Street, a major thoroughfare connecting CBD commuters to some of Melbourne's most exclusive suburbs.

Vinci Carbone Property handled the off-market sale but director Frank Vinci declined to comment.

The purchase is the latest for Mr Zagame, who in 1985 became the youngest hotel licensee in Victoria. In 2007, he paid about $14 million for a 4700-square-metre showroom at 577 King Street in West Melbourne.

In 2011, he was part of a consortium that paid $60 million at auction for the 501 Swanston Street office, for years Ansett's headquarters. Last month it was reported a Maserati dealership will occupy part of a five-storey, lower-level podium at this address.

The 13-year-old Zagame motor business also controls franchises in Bentleigh, Elsternwick and Mornington.

Elsewhere in the Richmond area, developers are filling airspace behind discount department store Dimmeys at 166 Swan Street with a luxury residential building. Lend Lease is replacing the former Channel Nine television studio just off Swan Street with swanky apartments and boutiques.

Glicks HQ for sale

The Melbourne owners of established bakery Glicks Cakes and Bagels have listed their 30-year-old Carnegie headquarters for sale after obtaining a valuable permit to replace the site with a 10-level apartment building.

The deep 4147-square-metre block at 1056-1060 Dandenong Road is expected to sell for about $7 million to make way for a mixed-use development with lower level commercial space and 172 flats above.

Established in Balaclava in the late 1960s, the kosher retail bakery now trades from shopping villages in Melbourne and Sydney. It is speculated Glicks will relocate office headquarters to Clayton or Moorabbin after the Carnegie sale.

Between the Monash University Clayton and Caulfield campuses, the proposed project is speculated to have an end value of about $80 million. CBRE's Justin Clarkson and Mark Wizel are the marketing agents.

"The development package has all the elements of a significant, landmark residential project in a rapidly growing area which continues to benefit from the nearby - and expanding - Monash University," Mr Clarkson said.

"By 2030, the Caulfield campus will grow by 87 per cent in size, with this property ideally positioned to take advantage of the growing number of students attending Australia's largest university."

Court squashed

Another squash court complex in a ritzy Melbourne suburb is set to make way for an apartment building.

This time, the Brighton Squash and Racquetball Centre in the suburb's pocket of Gardenvale, is earmarked to be replaced with a five-level complex.

The proposed building will rise beside another five-level medium-density building, earmarked for the south-west corner of Asling Street.

Both projects will include lower level retail fronting the Martin Street strip, near the Gardenvale train station. Allard & Shelton marketed the blocks late last year.

In Armadale, plans were announced to replace the former Toorak Squash and Fitness Centre on Beatty Avenue with a five-level apartment tower.

In South Yarra, squash courts have in recent years made way for offices and in St Kilda, for apartments.

FKP makes $3.6 million

Sydney developer FKP has made $3.6 million selling down the historic Camberwell Junction building it had to keep in order to develop high-rise apartments all around it.

The 250-square-metre former bank, leased to the Meat & Wine Company, sold on a yield of 4.5 per cent. When it was listed for sale in June, the property was expected to sell for about $3 million - also FKP's reserve. In total 70 bids were made.

Savills' Clinton Baxter and Nick Peden auctioned the property for FKP, which has completed a controversial village called Aerial on the balance of the junction site.

Chinatown icon sells

Chinatown's historic former Wing Ching building has sold for a speculated $2.7 million.

Before a crowd of about 120 at auction last week, six bidders competed for the four-level building at 11 Heffernan Lane, which was refurbished following a fire in 2010.

Built in 1891 as Wing Ching, the 440-square-metre premises is considered the first Chinatown restaurant embraced by Melburnians. Between Lonsdale and Little Bourke streets, the building has also accommodated the Quon Che on Cafe and respected Chung Wah restaurant.

CBRE agents Josh Rutman, Mark Wizel and Ed Wright declined to comment about the deal.

The sale is speculated to be the largest since 2003 for a freestanding, freehold building in Chinatown.

Five of the six bidders are understood to have flown in from overseas. According to agent sources, the property sold to the Melbourne-based investor.

A couple of years ago, a 110-square-metre block of land, once part of the restaurant, was subdivided and listed for sale asking $1.7 million.

Phillip Island cashes in

It has been an expensive week for the Liberal Party to right wrongs on Phillip Island.

On Wednesday, two days after the state government paid a speculated $3 million to settle a planning bungle in Ventnor, the federal Coalition promised $2.5 million to build a new hospital in the town centre of Cowes.

Local member and shadow environment minister Greg Hunt, with shadow health minister Peter Dutton, made the commitment to create a facility with emergency, palliative, ancillary and GP care.

In 2008, the island's Warley Hospital shut after the Rudd government refused to honour a one-off $2.5 million lifeline package promised by the Howard government, which would have guaranteed the 85-year-old facility's long-term future. With the nearest hospital in Wonthaggi, an hour away, fund manager AMP led a charge of aged care providers to quit building on the island.

Coincidentally, the untouched Warley Hospital was listed for sale this month after the Melbourne developer who bought the vacant site failed to get an apartment project approved. Warley is on a sloping site overlooking a north-facing beach and a pier.

Mr Hunt said building a new hospital at a different address was also an option.

marcpallisco@gmail.com

Twitter: @marcpallisco

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