Far East Consortium pays $90 million for Melbourne’s 640 Bourke Street

Far East Consortium has snapped up a development site permit-ready to become one of the Melbourne CBD’s most dense residential buildings.

The c1905 Eliza Tinsley building at 640 Bourke Street is trading for a speculated $90 million.

The 2764 square metre rectangular block was for decades owned by Australia Post, which in 2013 sold it to Shanghai-backed Besgate, for $23.9 million.

After initially applying to construct an 85-storey building on the site, Besgate won approval in 2017 to replace the block with a 68-storey tower containing 813 apartments, offices and shops.

The historic three-level Eliza Tinsley building’s façade, would remain.

The proposed Rothelowman designed tower at 640 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Interestingly, Australia Post sought to add value to 640 Bourke Street, before listing it, obtaining a residential redevelopment permit for a 42-storey complex with 563 dwellings.

Besgate’s proposal was approved just prior to a planning amendment, C270, which substantially decreased the allowable density of apartment buildings in and around the city centre.

Put another way, the scale of Besgate’s proposal for 640 Bourke Street would unlikely be approved today.

Besgate also won permission to construct high-density residential buildings on two other Melbourne CBD sites it bought, in 2013 and 2014.

An aerial view of 640 Bourke Street (outlined) used by Savills in its 2013 sale campaign for Australia Post.

It offered all three of these blocks – with active permits – last year.

Last week, we reported that 140-146 King Street, which was permitted to make way for a 57-storey tower with 263 dwellings, sold for $29 million to Sydney developer Harry Triguboff, who has earmarked it for a Meriton Suites hotel. This 792 sqm site cost Besgate $10 million in 2013.

Besgate’s third Melbourne property, 558-566 Elizabeth Street, traded for $31.5 million to student accommodation provider, Scape, 10 months ago. This 1600 sqm plot, the former Trivett City Peugeout dealership, was permitted for a 12-storey building with 159 flats. Besgate paid $13 million for it in 2014.

Elsewhere in the CBD, Far East Consortium, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, is developing Melbourne’s first Ritz-Carlton hotel on part of the former Age site at 250 Spencer Street. It has also replaced a former power station at 220 Spencer Street, across the road from Ritz-Carlton, with a mixed-use complex containing four residential skyscrapers.

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Marc Pallisco

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