Fortis buys into St Kilda with five level plan

Fortis plans to raze two Fitzroy Street buildings including the ex-Area 61 nightclub (right).
Part of Fortis’ proposed building at 61-73 Fitzroy Street.

Hotel investor Michael Renzella is selling a significant property in St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street to Charles Mellick’s Fortis Development Group for a speculated $21 million.

Three level structures facing Fitzroy Street form part of the Fortis plan.

Spreading 1924 square metres, #63-73 contains a three level short-term accommodation complex, with 40 studios, ground floor retail and a 37 bay open-air car park accessed from a laneway off Jackson St.

A high rise development site at Middle Park, near St Kilda, recently hit the market.

It was listed in late 2021 permit-ready for a two level extension raising the total number of dwellings to 54.

Instead, Fortis last quarter applied for a larger project, incorporating the neighbouring 746 sqm site – the ex-Area 61 nightclub – which last traded for $7m in 2020.

Bigger plans

Fortis intends to raze the Area 61 building – 61 Fitzroy St – and the Renzella asset for its five storey, c8190 sqm project, which it estimates will cost $25m to complete.

The complex will contain 39 dwellings – the majority (19) with two bedrooms. The residential component is also designed with seven three bedroom penthouses. Occupant-only amenity is expected to include a business lounge, boardroom, cinema and office.

The ground floor will include nearly 900 sqm of retail in three tenancies, between 258-319 sqm (story continues below).

Two basement levels also form part of the plan, with 100 car parks, dog washing facilities and a resident amenity room with a golf simulator.

The hospitality components are expected to utilise a liquor licence attached to 61 Fitzroy St.

Sydney-based Fortis, also led by investment banker Patrick Keenan and financier Dan Gallen, has been establishing a Melbourne development pipeline since picking up an Eastern Road, South Melbourne, site in 2019.

Its local assets includes residential building blocks in Clifton Hill and Richmond.

The company is also planning a major office at Cremorne.

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Marc Pallisco

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