Written by Marc Pallisco
Monday, 09 November 2009 07:46
The on-again-off-again campaign to relocate Network Nine from its long time Bendigo Street headquarters, may be on again.
Sources say the network is entertaining plans to sell its Richmond home of 53-years, and use funds to refit new offices and studios, or a purpose-built high-tech facility closer to town.
It’s understood executives from PBL Media, Nine owners, have inspected existing office space to meet an unofficial 8,000 square metre requirement, but that a purpose-built facility could also be on the frame. A network representative was unavailable to comment to The Age.
The sale-and-lease strategy would mirror that proposed by PBL Media two years ago, and at what was now considered the peak of the commercial property boom.
In late 2007 it was reported Sydney-based fund manager Charter Hall agreed to pay about $200 million for two outgoing Network Nine sites, with values split at about $80 million for the three-hectare Bendigo Street property, and $120 million for the Willoughby studio in Sydney.
The ensuing economic downturn resulted in that price being adjusted to a speculated total of $165 million (for which Richmond constituted about $60 million), and the properties being withdrawn from sale.
Popular television filmed at the Richmond studio include The Don Lane Show, The Paul Hogan Show and Graham Kennedy’s In Melbourne Tonight.
A sale by PBL Media would follow the lead of Channel Seven, which sold its South Melbourne studio to Fridcorp in 2007 for $15 million, after moving to Docklands. Network Ten leases space at South Yarra’s Como building.
The ABC is expected to sell two Elsternwick properties ahead of a move to Southbank, including a $25 million office built on what was once an 8,000 square metre slice of the historic Rippon Lea mansion’s estate. SBS is based at Federation Square.
Related article: Nine Network to Sell Richmond Studio to Lend Lease For $52 Million