Bionics Institute sells HQ to high-profile neighbour

The East Melbourne office is less than 500 metres to Spring Street.

The Bionics Institute of Australia has sold its East Melbourne headquarters after close to 30 years.

The buyer, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, has offices based at the St Patrick’s Cathedral site across the road.

Its new facility, on 890 square metres at 384-388 Albert Street, is costing more than $12 million – a price which reflects a sub three per cent yield.

The acquisition comes seven years after the group spent $36m on the 11-level Industry House at #488, in the street, from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The church also sold an office at 96 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, for $9.53m, in 2016.

Bionics offered its asset with a leaseback however it will now move.

It was represented by JLL’s new head of Middle Markets and Metropolitan Investments, Josh Rutman, with Michael Godfrey and Tom Foley.

Address a hotspot: agent

The Bionics Institute of Australia property is at the north west corner of Lansdowne St – about 500m from Parliament train station (story continues below)

The not-for-profit offered the property with a leaseback but agents also promoted the development upside.

Elsewhere in Albert St, Luxcon last year unveiled plans to extend a rundown office at #372-380 – and repurpose it as a high-end residential project.

Gold Coast’s Pask Group is also expected to build apartments on the airspace of another historic building at #254-260, College House, it acquired for $22m a year ago.

Mirvac, in partnership with Freemasons Victoria, recently completed the 14-storey Eastbourne at #280.

Mr Rutman said that over the past decade, there has been 10 East Melbourne transactions worth more than $5m.

“The ownership profile is substantially domestic and includes a mix of syndicates, private investors and developers,” he added.

“Buyers have demonstrated that when opportunities arise in the precinct, they are prepared to pay a premium to secure both investments and development sites, which has seen prices largely maintained if not increase throughout the past 12 months”.

According to JLL Research, East Melbourne’s office vacancy rate is 2.9pc, amongst the lowest of any major market in the country.

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Marc Pallisco

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