Bensons buys Carlton apartment site

Australian Unity offered the Carlton site permit-ready for a 12 level tower (right).


Australian Unity has sold a central Carlton site earmarked for an aged care village to Bensons Property Group which is instead planning luxury apartments.

The Drummond Street block is walking distance to Lygon Street.

The 1597 square metre rectangle shaped block at 482-492 Drummond Street, on the south east corner of Colgan, is mooted to have traded in the range the agents were quoting – $17-$18 million.

Bensons’ Vanguard at Malvern East.

Zoned Residential Growth, it was offered permit-ready for a 12 storey structure penned by Fender Katsalidis.

Bensons has since redesigned the proposal, adding a level, using the same architect.

Proven area: agents

Vinci Carbone’s Frank Vinci and Joseph Carbone represented Australian Unity.

While declining to comment on the buyer or price, they said 482-492 Drummond St attracted several offers, mainly from Australian buyers but also from a couple of overseas based groups.

“Opportunities to secure a parcel of this size walking distance to Melbourne’s CBD are extremely rare,” according to Mr Vinci.

Carlton is a proven area for high density residential, he added.

Interest came from build to sell and build to rent developers, the agent said (story continues below).

Elias Jreissati owns the Levantine Hill winery.

Bensons was established in 1994 by Elias Jreissati who also owns the Yarra Valley’s Levantine Hill winery, with a main building also penned by Fender Katsalidis, and which is presently the subject of a $20m development application adding a 33-room hotel and bridal suite with a cellar.

Later stages of any redevelopment there will include another guesthouse, with 47 suites.

Bensons targets inner north

Bensons’ portfolio of apartments is focused in the inner south; it has completed two major complexes in each of Armadale and Prahran.

It has also finished developments opposite Hawthorn’s St James Park and in Malvern East, with the prominent 18 level Vanguard, on Dandenong Road.

In the west, meanwhile, it recently completed a 24 storey Footscray tower while in the north east’s Ivanhoe, it finished a four floor project, Chelsworth.

Carlton will be its first venture in Melbourne’s inner north.

Outside of Victoria, Bensons’ development pipeline includes projects in Hobart and Surfers Paradise.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of