Daniel Besen – the son of Sussan co-founder, developer and philanthropist, Marc, and Eva, who died two years ago, has listed a spectacularly located Fitzroy site after deciding against building a headquarters there (artist’s impression, top).
The 899 square metre holding at 1-9 Gertrude Street, a holding from Nicholson and the UNESCO listed Royal Exhibition Building, is expected to sell for c$10 million according to sources.
It is also being offered as a co-development venture.
Mr Besen outlaid $8.91m in 2019 – a fortnight after it hit the market.
That vendor, hairdressing supplies business Turnley’s, occupied the two storey, 1147 sqm brown brick building on the site since paying $840,000 in 1987.
The property was once owned by financier and politician Henry Miller MLC, who in 1858 built a row of townhouses on it, Granite Terrace, demolished a century later.
Mr Besen appointed Oslo based Snøhetta – familiar with designing buildings around sensitive sites – to pen a five level structure over a two storey basement, part of which was to have acted as his family office.
After being rejected by the City of Yarra, a plan 1.5 metres shorter was approved by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in late 2021.
Objectors in both applications included the National Trust of Australia, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria and Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
The Besen family co-own and has company headquarters at the distinctive Harry Seidler designed 1 Spring St office, at the south east tip of Melbourne’s CBD (story continues below).
Mr Besen’s Phillip Nominees has this year lobbied VCAT for another tower on a rear portion of that holding – rising 28 levels with 35,800 sqm of gross floor area (and c26,000 sqm of lettable space).
The Snøhetta design includes four shops, a restaurant and gallery on the ground floor, offices on levels two to four and a three bedroom penthouse.
However give the Commercial 1 zoning, any incoming owner can consider reworking this permit, perhaps with more residential; upper levels will enjoy views of the Royal Exhibition Building and CBD, a short walk away.
JLL’s Josh Rutman and Jesse Radisich are representing Mr Besen, a prominent developer is in his own right.
The executive’s sister, Naomi Milgrom, currently heads Sussan Group.
The Besen family banked $680m in 2017 selling a quarter of the Highpoint Shopping Centre to GPT which bought the balance between 2006 and 2009.
“We achieved an outstanding planning outcome [for 1-9 Gertrude St] and as a result have attracted a number of approaches to sell or joint venture the project,” Besen executive director Simon Goldenberg said.
“With this in mind, we have made the decision to put the property to market,” he added.
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