Chris Lock sells Footscray’s former Lonely Planet HQ off-market for $33.1 million

Former Impact Investment Group chief executive officer Chris Lock has sold a warehouse converted office overlooking the Maribyrnong River, in Melbourne’s inner-west Footscray, for $33.1 million.

The 1920s former wool store at 90-96 Maribyrnong Street, which was for 16 years until 2016 the headquarters of travel guide, Lonely Planet, is trading to Sydney-based Planum Partners on a 6.7 per cent yield.

The fully-leased building is the sole asset in the new Planum Footscray Fund, which will be managed by Planum Partners.

The Footscray deal comes 10 months after we reported, exclusively, that Mr Lock’s IP Generation spent more than $15 million on a major industrial investment with development upside in Torquay, on Victoria’s Surf Coast.

Mr Lock, who headed the Liberman family backed IIG between 2012 and 2017, told realestatesource.com.au that he intends to use the Footscray sale proceeds to re-position other assets within his property portfolio.

“It’s been a rewarding journey re-positioning this beautiful building,” Mr Lock said. “In many ways it is bittersweet as the future for the building and the western corridor is certainly exciting”.

The warehouse converted office was built in the 1920s.

Elsewhere in the suburb, the state government recently unveiled plans for a new Footscray Hospital, a $1.5 billion investment.

The West Gate Tunnel Project is in the immediate vicinity.

Mr Lock acquired 90-96 Maribyrnong Street following his split with IIG, and subsequent distribution of assets.

IIG paid Trilogy Funds Management $13.5 million for it in 2015 (Trilogy made a loss on that deal, after paying $14.4 million for the office investment in 2005).

When IIG seized control of the four-storey, 6470 square metre building, the Lonely Planet lease was close to expiring.

IIG then undertook a major renovation, re-launching it in 2016 as a co-working space, and renaming the complex to Dream Factory.

It sold this time around, tenanted to seven occupiers, and with a weighted average lease expiry (WALE) of 6.5 years.

The off-market sale was negotiated by JLL’s Leigh Melbourne, Nick Rathgeber and Paul Kempton.

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Marc Pallisco

Marc Pallisco

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

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