Developer pays $17 million for Brunswick Market

The Sydney Road Street Party, held annually.

An unrenovated two storey shopping centre at the middle of a popular retail strip in Melbourne’s inner north Brunswick has sold to Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis, a local, and ACT builder Molonglo Group, for $17 million following an off-market campaign.

The Brunswick Market block will make way for a major residential development, likely with ground floor retail. The land is zoned for seven storey structures, it is unknown if the next owner will try for something taller.

The sale of Brunswick Market comes nine weeks after we reported Stockland outlaid $15 million for a 4010 square metre holding in the suburb and four months since Mirvac paid a speculated $25 million for a 7500 sqm parcel next to it, off-market.

Brunswick is home to two environmentally-friendly Nightingale Housing apartment complexes with another on the way (at 209 Sydney Road).

The high profile silos painted last May with a mural of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Adern are also in the vicinity.

The market last sold in 2004.

Inside the unrenovated Brunswick Market.

Interstate developers buying Brunswick’s biggest blocks

Stockland and Mirvac, both Sydney based, intend to build apartment complexes and townhouses on their blocks, in Albert Street.

Brunswick Market at 655-661 Sydney Rd – a strip serviced by a tram – has traded as an arcade for more than 20 years.

It will continue to operate while the new owners propose an apartment project which the brokers said “will redefine this pocket of Brunswick and continue the boom of residential development in the area”.

Any design is expected to contain lower level retail – possibly configured as a more contemporary market.

Near Anstey train station, comprising 50-52 Breese St, the 3059 sqm block fronts two more roads: Florence and William streets.

The land zoning allows circa-seven storey buildings, however the new owner could try for something more substantial.

Elsewhere in the suburb the Sarah Sands Hotel site (of 1120 sqm) at 29 Sydney Rd is making way for a seven level extension. Octogenarian Franco Cozzo recently proposed eight storeys at 466-474 Sydney Rd, a c800 sqm block. Larger plots in the suburb have made way for 12-level structures (story continues below).

Price sets a record rate for Brunswick land: agents

Savills’ Jesse Radisich and Nick Peden with Blount Osborne Walsh’s Cameron Elliott confirmed the Brunswick Market deal.

The executives said the result prices every square metre of land at $5,557 – “a new…value benchmark for Brunswick for a major land holding”.

Their campaign targeted “not only the most capable local…major developers, but also interstate and offshore groups seeking major landholdings and opportunities in Melbourne”.

Scarcity a driver

“This major transaction is a huge vote of confidence for Brunswick and Melbourne’s inner north generally,” Mr Radisich added.

“It is undoubtedly a sign that developers are willing to compete aggressively and pay a premium for sites that offer that scarcity factor along with significant upside.

“We continue to see developers flock to inner-city suburbs rich with amenity and the bigger picture of Melbourne’s huge project population growth provides strong confidence”.

With the Brunswick Market deal, Savills has been involved in three major property sales in the suburb this year including the Albert Street site to Stockland and a Sydney Rd shop with development upside (for $5m – $2.2m over expectation).

Mr Elliott, who has worked with the Brunswick Market owner for a decade, said “the sheer size of the land in this location was a major drawcard to a number of buyers”.

The executive agreed “the scarcity factory played a major role in the significant demand”.

Brunswick is about five kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD.
The battleaxe shaped block with four street frontages could make way for multiple towers.

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Marc Pallisco

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