Daniel Besen paying c$9 million for Fitzroy warehouse with development upside

The double storey Fitzroy office occupies an 899 square metre block.


Businessman Daniel Besen is paying the owners of hairdressing product supplier Turnleys $8.91 million for a prominent office/warehouse with development upside in Fitzroy.

The asset, 1-9 Gertrude Street (pictured), near the north east corner of Nicholson Street and Royal Exhibition Building, was marketed to investors, owner occupiers and local and international developers – groups which all showed an interest, according to the selling agency.

The businessman and philanthropist is understood to have picked it up as an office development play, but this could not be confirmed.

Turnleys owner-occupied the nondescript double storey brick Fitzroy building as its headquarters since 1987, after it paid $840,000.

The structure contains 1147 sqm of lettable area and sits on an 899 sqm plot walking distance to the Melbourne CBD and Melbourne Central train station, Queen Victoria Market, Carlton Gardens and Brunswick Street retail strip.

Gorman Commercial’s Tom Maule and Stephen Gorman marketed it but declined to comment about buyer or price.

Of the campaign, however, the agents said “the property was arguably the most sought after asset we have sold in recent times”.

It traded a week before the close of an expressions of interest campaign.

The sale comes eight months after the former owners of suit hire business Spurlings offfloaded that company’s ex North Melbourne headquarters, nearby, for a speculated price of more than $7m.

In January, Australian Red Cross sold two recently vacated owner-occupied offices in Carlton to the University of Melbourne for a total $46m (story continues below).

Four months ago, Cotton On sold a Fairfield warehouse-dispatch-centre with a leaseback, for $3.6m.

Daniel Besen no stranger to property pages

Mr Besen is no stranger to Melbourne’s property news pages.

Last year the businessman paid $19m for historic South Yarra mansion, Two Birches.

That acquisition came a year after he sold his 29.5 hectare Flinders estate on the Mornington Peninsula to former Good Guys boss Andrew Muir for $17m – a suburb record which still stands.

Also in 2017, Mr Besen was connected to a townhouse project which required the demolition of a historic home in Armadale’s Huntingtower Road.

In 2016, the executive traded an un-lived in new home at 9 Towers Rd, Toorak, for $26.25m – a price which set a state record until Stonington in Malvern sold in February, 2018, for twice that.

Mr Besen’s parents, Marc and Eva, sometimes called retail royalty given their substantial property portfolio, are said have a net worth of more than $2 billion.

In 2017 we reported that GPT Group paid Marc Besen $680m for the 25 per cent share of Maribyrnong’s Highpoint Shopping Centre which it didn’t own.

The Fitzroy site (outlined) relative to Carlton Gardens and the Melbourne CBD.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.