Chinese builder AZX Group flips Melbourne CBD development site for $35m

Privately owned China-based builder AZX Group has flipped a Melbourne CBD site after obtaining a valuable redevelopment permit.

The vendor, also reportedly known as the Chengdu Xingyuan Real Estate Development Co, is banking $35 million from the sale of 183-189 A’Beckett Street – a 1032 square metre block it bought for $20.8 million in 2015.

AZX Group listed the site after obtaining a permit to replace a three-storey, 2007 square metre brick warehouse with a 48-level residential skyscraper containing 299 flats, penned by architect The Buchan Group (see artist impression, top).

The permit was granted before Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne introduced stricter guidelines regarding plot ratios for city apartment proposals. As such, the permit for the site marketed as 185 A’Beckett Street offers a floor to plot ratio of 24:1.

If AZX Group were to have lodged plans for a skyscraper on this site, today, this ratio would be reduced to 18:1, which would lower the potential of apartments it could build – a point selling agency Colliers International’s City Sales Team made clear in the marketing.

Brokers Bryson Cameron, Oliver Hay, David Sia and Daniel Wolman confirmed the property sold this week following an expressions of interest campaign which closed on November 28. The new owner is expected to propose apartments within a new complex, next year.

The parcel, at the top of town, is about 250 metres from the Queen Victoria Market, which is set to undergo a major renovation, and also walking distance to the Flagstaff and Melbourne Central train stations. Elizabeth Street – with its extensive tram and bus network – is also within close proximity to 183-189 A’Beckett Street.

AZX Group had earlier tried to obtain a higher density permit for the site – an initial plan from late 2015 was for a 67-storey building containing 471 flats (with resident-only amenities on the 44th and 45th levels) and 44 car parks.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, where it is an active developer, the group controls a piece of the former CUB site, in Carlton, a plot at 685 La Trobe Street, a parcel in Villiers Street, North Melbourne, and suburban sites in Footscray and Brighton.

The sale of 183-189 A’Beckett Street comes in the week Singapore’s listed Roxy Pacific paid $33 million for a 937 square metre site with redevelopment potential at 360 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. Roxy Pacific plans to build a hotel and retail space on the site, which currently accommodates a 4504 square metre building.

In June, former Toll Holdings chief executive turned property developer, Paul Little, paid a speculated $30 million for a 1187 square metre block at 9-27 Downie Street in the CBD – which the vendor bought a few years earlier, before obtaining a permit for a 30-level, 255-unit apartment complex.

Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and experienced analyst, Marc is the co-founder of realestatesource.com.au

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