The Victorian division of the Liberal Party is readying to sell its Melbourne CBD headquarters.
According to well-placed sources, the six-storey office called Centenary Hall, at 104 Exhibition Street, is expected to trade for more than $25 million.
On the south-east corner of Little Collins Street the building sits on a 444 square metre site and is expected to arouse interest from developers which might consider extending into the airspace.
It is this property which the Liberal Party took out a $2 million mortgage against in 2016 following a fraud scandal which jailed former state director Damien Mantach.
Built in 1935 following a design competition launched two years earlier, Centenary Hall replaced a Protestant Hall built in 1846 for the Loyal Orange Institution of Victoria, which is coincidentally selling a Box Hill South site at present.
Between 1942 and 1945, the Exhibition Street building was occupied by the Australian Red Cross, according to this Wikipedia post.
It is believed the Opposition has appointed Colliers International to sell Centenary Hall before the end of the year.
The Liberal party bought Centenary Hall, with more than 2500 sqm of lettable area, for $576,000 in 1976.
It refurbished the office in 1995, 2002 and 2008. Other occupiers in the building including Enterprise Victoria, the Women’s Liberal Council, Flight Centre, Tolarno Galleries and 7-Eleven.
In 1989, the political party teamed with neighbours to offer a combined, larger site, which at the time was expected to sell for more than $55 million. That offering famously sold to a buyer who paid an $8.5 million deposit but didn’t conclude the deal, despite moving the settlement date forward three times.
In 2001, the Liberals unsuccessfully offered the building’s air rights for sale.
At about the time of the Mantach scandal, it was rumoured the party might sell the building with a leaseback (at this time it was speculated the asset could be worth about $15 million).
Six years ago, the ALP Victorian branch moved into a 596 square metre strata office in Docklands, selling its long-time headquarters at 356-362 King Street, West Melbourne, for $3.4 million to a developer who proposed replacing it with a hotel.