Apartment developer buys office at bottom of Westgarth retail strip

The office occupies a 1027 square metre site near the south east corner of High and Westgarth streets in Northcote.

Wilbow is speculated to have swooped on a low-rise office on Commercial 1 zoned land at the south east tip of Northcote’s Westgarth retail strip with the intention to replace it with apartments.

The vendors reaped $4.4 million from 48 High Street following an expressions of interest campaign which closed on April 8 – shortly after Melbourne’s first COVID-19 lock-down.

On a 1027 square metre site near the south east corner of Westgarth St, the two storey investment with 14 car parks last traded in 1995.

The two storey office can make way for something twice as tall.

The 847 sqm office is 62 per cent vacant measured by area; that space, which will be available while the new owner pushes through a redevelopment application, is refurbished.

Based on a fully let net annual income of c$310,000 – 48 High St is trading on a seven per cent market yield.

The site has the potential to make way for a four floor building.

Developers are planning for next cycle: agent

The sale price values the 48 High Street land at $4284 per sqm (story continues below).

Interest was predominantly from apartment builders, with some owner occupiers and office investors, Kelly & Kelly marketing agent Anthony Kelly said.

“The developers are out there and actively looking for opportunities for the next cycle,” he added.

“The building occupies a prime corner position with tram and bus services at the door and the Westgarth train station around the corner.

“On top of that, the property is only six kilometres from the CBD”.

The sale comes four months after a row of old shops on a 783 sqm Commercial 1 zoned site at 43-47 Simpson St – further east, closer to Dennis station, sold permit-ready for a four-level, 18 unit apartment project with three ground floor shops, for $3.3m.

Three weeks ago, another high density residential development site, of 1050 sqm, with the same zoning, 340-342 High St, Northcote, hit the market carrying $5m-plus price hopes.

Local developer LAS Group is also seeking to build an apartment, office and retail asset, Northcote Green, on strata-titled pieces of Northcote Plaza which it acquired for $35m last year.

The upstairs office area is refurbished and the building has a new lift.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.