A consortium of developers led by boutique builder R.Corporation is believed to be the preferred tenderer negotiating to buy Consolidated Media Holdings’ GTV-9 headquarters in Richmond, in a deal believed to be worth about $80 million
Sources say R.Corporation will team with Crane Corporation and Sydney-based developer and fund manager Charter Hall to develop the site into high rise apartments, townhouses and retail space.
It’s understood Charter Hall will also purchase the network’s Willoughby studios on Sydney’s north shore in a deal worth about $120 million, however this could not be confirmed.
The 3-hectare site at 22–56 Bendigo Street in Richmond includes more than 30 buildings, some of which are heritage protected. The site has a wide frontage to Stawell Street, Khartoum Street, Jago Street and Weitheim Street and has been used as the Melbourne studio for the television network since 1956.
Currently zoned Industrial 1, the site is expected to be rezoned Residential next year, which would pave the way for a major redevelopment.
A representative from R.Corporation declined to comment on any negotiations when contacted by The Age. Spokespeople from Consolidated Media, Charter Hall and Crane Corporation failed to return calls.
Colliers International’s eastern office chief executive Rob Joyes, who is marketing the Richmond property, denied Consolidated had yet entered the due diligence process with any specific contender.
However, well placed sources say negotiations are advanced on the site, considered one of the best infill development sites offered in Melbourne for years.
Groups understood to have tendered on the Richmond site include Australand, Mirvac and Devine Limited. Private investors including Lindsay Fox and Paul Little are also believed to have thrown their hat in the ring.
Consolidated Media has issued an 11,000 square metre leasing requirement in Melbourne’s inner-city, with a site in Docklands widely tipped to become the Nine network’s new home. The network is also looking for around 25,000 square metres of office and studio space in Sydney’s western suburbs.
It’s believed offices in both cities must be available by mid-2009, which limits the company’s accommodation options to existing buildings or sites currently under construction.
R.Corporation, the private development company of former banker Andrew Rettig, has been flexing its development muscle in Melbourne over the last few years, developing more than 20 landmark buildings into boutique residential, retail and office projects totalling around $600 million.
Its biggest project to date is the Botanicca Corporate Park in Richmond which it developed with Macquarie Bank into offices.
Nearby, it has developed the former Victoria Brewery site in East Melbourne into Tribeca, a mixed use retail and residential project. It teamed with Babcock & Brown and Red C to develop the $240 million project.