Brunswick’s Princes Park Motor Inn site for sale after years of controversy

The Brunswick site (marked, above and below), overlooking Princes Park, is about four kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD.

The high-profile Brunswick site with protected Melbourne CBD view lines over Princes Park has been listed for sale by its Chinese developer owner after four years of planning controversy.

The 6465 square metre parcel known as 699-701 Park Street, but actually comprising multiple addresses, could trade for close to $40 million according to sources.

Vendor JW Land paid $30m in 2015.

Its proposal a year later to build 333 dwellings within several towers, the tallest rising 13 levels, received hundreds of local objections and was refused.

The site is at the point Brunswick, Carlton North and Parkville meet.

In 2018 a smaller scheme, worth $250m, with 10 storey buildings, 255 dwellings and a childcare centre was put forward but also rejected, first by City of Moreland then, last month, by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Interestingly, the planning authority had no issue with park overshadowing but because of design issues including that balconies were too small and units were not effectively cross-ventilated.

VCAT added the scale of parts of JW Land’s proposal would also have overwhelmed a heritage listed substation on the site.

Colliers International’s Trent Hobart, Jozef Dickinson and Hamish Burgess are now marketing the block as 699 Park Street via an expressions of interest campaign closing on June 25.

Brunswick’s best block?

At the suburb’s southern tip and border with Carlton North and Parkville, 699 Park Street is about four kms north of the city.

The offering comprises what was nine holdings – a mix with vacant land, nondescript low rise apartment blocks and houses.

Melbourne Princes Park Motor Inn, a venue once known as a Best Western at the north east corner of Sydney Road, is arguably its highest profile component.

About 400 metres from Jewell train station and Barkly Square Shopping Centre, the property also has substantial Brunswick Road frontage.

Nearly 100m of 699 Park Street abuts the public garden, capturing views over Icon Park to the city.

Adjacent to the parcel Peregrine Projects is planning to replace airspace of the historic Sarah Sands Hotel with seven levels of apartments.

A renovated ground floor tenancy within that redevelopment at 29 Sydney Road was last year rented to Australian Venue Co, which is backed by New York private investment giant KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts).

Grungy Melbourne suburb on the radar of interstate developers

It has been a busy calendar year for Brunswick development site sales, with most of the activity being driven by interstate builders.

Last month ACT’s Molonglo with Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis spent $17m on the Brunswick Market site at 655-661 Sydney Road, with plans for a major residential based project.

In late January Stockland paid $15m for a 4010 sqm site incorporating a timber yard at 429-435 Albert Street – a block like 699 Park Street which is park-side and offers city views.

Three weeks earlier Mirvac outlaid a speculated $25m on a 7063 parcel at 397-401 Albert Street.

Both builders, from Sydney, and are planning a medium density residential development, the latter with build-to-rent components.

Octogenarian furniture retailer Franco Cozzo, a Melburnian, is planning to replace his showroom at the north east corner of Sydney Road and Victoria Street with a seven storey apartment tower atop a ground floor space his daughter will occupy as a restaurant.

CBD Development Group about four years ago constructed Brunswick’s tallest major building rising 12-floors at 288 Albert Street and configured with more than 200 flats and ground floor retail.

At the north east corner of Park Street and Sydney Road, the site is being marketed for its development upside.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property analyst and journalist, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco