Council snares $18m apartment site for park

The Merri-bek site was earmarked for apartments, shops and a medical centre.


Merri-bek City Council has quietly snapped up a prominent inner north Melbourne site until recently earmarked for a major apartment building and 17 townhouses.

The Pascoe Vale South holding includes an ex-Sims supermarket. Image: Google Street View.

The local government is paying $17.7 million for the Pascoe Vale South tract covering 498-514 Bell Street and 33 Westgarth – all up, 6634 square metres.

Also with frontage to Wills and York streets, a public garden is planned for a 2500 sqm piece – part of council’s A Park Close to Home initiative.

This component is expected to face Westgarth, between Wills and York streets.

Council is then anticipated to develop or sell-down the balance which, zoned Commercial 1, could make way for offices, residential, retail or an essential services product like childcare.

The property is near the ex-Shirlene School of Ballet – an amalgamation of four retail properties, 9A-9D Anderson St – and a neighbouring house, 80 Westgate, which retired octogenarian dancer Shirley Jones sold in late 2020 following a campaign targeting apartment developers.

Elsewhere in the immediate area, a four storey complex with 31 flats is earmarked to replace 432-438 Bell St, a 1137 sqm parcel which once accommodated the Living Flowers florist.

West of these blocks, meanwhile, 11 townhouses are approved for a 1382 sqm holding, 632 Bell St.

Pascoe Vale South is eight kilometres from town (story continues below).

The redundant Pascoe Vale South proposal from Westgarth Street.

Next chapter for derelict site

Merri-bek’s Pascoe Vale South holding failed to sell when it was last publicly offered in 2018.

Merri-bek in 2019 paid $1.76 million for 132-134 Cardinal Road, Glenroy – which is now a park.

At the time it was permit-ready for a five level building with 131 apartments, 17 townhouses, a supermarket spreading 1876 sqm, medical centre (1157 sqm), retail (289 sqm) and 225 car parks.

That proposal was an amendment to another residential-based scheme approved by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2012.

Until 15 years ago, the westernmost part of the holding, facing Wills St, accommodated a Caltex service station.

A Merri-bek spokeswoman said the A Park Close to Home initiative aims to deliver more municipal gardens.

“Since 2018, council has invested more than $54m [from developer contributions] and created around 17,500 square metres of new open space,” she added.

Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Share or Recommend article

Marc Pallisco

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