BRC snares prime Arden block for healthcare project

BRC is buying the section marked Arden Central West.

BRC Capital has snapped up a prominent corner site within the Arden urban renewal precinct, to develop a medical centre and office to occupy.

Buildings up to c18 floors could be considered for the BRC and Nick Theodossi sites.

The 5463 square metre parcel covering 189-203 Arden Street, on the south west corner of Laurens, opposite North Melbourne Oval, is speculated to be setting the group back over $45 million.

Nick Theodossi was the vendor; the luxury car dealer and property investor retains a 9549 sqm amalgamation at the south east corner of Arden and Laurens streets.

Colliers’ Trent Hobart and Robert Papaleo were the agents.

Metro puts Arden on map

Given recently introduced planning controls, the BRC site could accommodate circa-18 level buildings with a total of over 50,000 sqm.

The parcel was last in the news in late 2020, when Charter Hall had an option to buy it pending a c40,000 sqm pre-commitment to Australia Post which didn’t come off.

In 2019, the property was listed with the 9549 sqm component Mr Theodossi holds – all up seeking c$150m; a sale to GIC and Grocon for a Build to Rent project also didn’t conclude.

The area’s value ballooned five years ago when the state government confirmed an Arden train station (artist’s impression, top) as part of the $11b Metro Tunnel project which will connect the area to South Yarra via the Parkville biomedical and hospital precinct and two CBD stops.

The depot location, on the south west corner of Barwise and Laurens streets, is opposite the BRC block and diagonally adjacent to the Nick Theodossi Prestige Cars showroom.

Another biotechnology precinct?

A revised structure plan seeking the urban renewal of the 46 hectare Arden precinct was approved this year.

Last month, the state government announced divisions of the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Women’s would be developed there – most likely on a large part it controls, via VicTrack, west of Laurens St (story continues below).

Artist’s impression indicating product and densities allowed at various Arden sites.

With the Metro Tunnel set to open in 2025, agents say the location is this year finding favour as an alternative to the hugely successful Parkville biomedical precinct, one stop away.

BRC recently invested in the healthcare sector with a device company, 3DMEDiTech, developed with the state government.

Arden is set to contain significant commercial and residential.

It also built two research facilities at University of Melbourne campuses at Parkville and Port Melbourne.

“We’re extremely excited to be part of this once-in-a-generation opportunity on the doorstep of the new Arden rail station, which will be one of only five new stations delivered in 2025 by the $11b Metro Tunnel project and next door to the recently announced $5b hospital campus,” BRC chairman, Paul Docherty, said.

“We are trying to take more control of our destiny in regards to the facilities that we build, which are, by definition, reasonably expensive,” he added.

“We’ve got to be somewhere where from a health perspective, we’re close to where health workers are going to be, and that is clearly in and around that area,” according to the executive.

Mr Hobart said the pocket is well placed to become a major education and innovation hub.

“Arden Central is the strategic gateway site in the newly approved…Arden Structure Plan,” he added.

“It will accommodate a mixed use development project in excess of $600m, with construction anticipated to commence in late 2024,” according to the executive.

“The [189-203 Arden St] sale marks a significant transaction in Melbourne’s prime city fringe and reflects confidence in Colliers’ and BRC’s vision for the Arden precinct”.

The buyer is purchasing the property under a division, BRC Developments.

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Marc Pallisco

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