Forza snaps up historic Nicholas Building

Little Diver is speculated to have been vandalised by interests associated with a US artist.

A consortium including the Cohen and Smorgon families has sold the city’s historic Nicholas Building after 49 years.

The 11 storey investment – where Banksy stencilled Little Diver and Gregory Roberts is reported to have written Shantaram – is being purchased by Forza Capital for a speculated $80 million.

With c112 tenancies, popular with the city’s art scene, it won’t be greatly repositioned; Forza Capital director Ashley Wain saying it is earmarked for a social impact fund.

However, the property does hold significant value-add potential, with its western wall abutting Cocker Alley, set to become a major pedestrian thoroughfare once the Town Hall station opens in 2025 as part of the Metro Tunnel project.

An activated rooftop was also promoted as part of the marketing campaign, managed by Colliers’ Lachlan MacGillivray, Matt Stagg and Oliver Hay with Gorman Allard Shelton’s Joseph Walton, Patrick Barnes and Michael Ryan.

The whole complex could also have been sold down as strata investments.

The Banksy stencil, created in 2003, was vandalised with grey paint five years later (story continues below).

The Nicholas Building retail arcade was for decades a Coles store.

Smorgons buy, sell Harry Norris buildings

Developed in 1926 as an investment by Aspro founders, brothers Alfred and George Nicholas, 31-41 Swanston Street, at the south west corner of Flinders Lane, contains 9560 square metres.

Burnham Beeches was recently purchased by a consortium including the Smorgon family.

For decades until 1967, Coles operated a supermarket on the ground and basement levels.

It was designed by Harry Norris, also responsible for Sherbrooke’s Burnham Beeches, which celebrity chef Shannon Bennett sold earlier this year to a consortium, coincidentally including the Smorgons.

The Nicholas Building acquisition comes seven months since Forza outlaid $86.8m for a B-grade office at 399 Lonsdale St, for a sustainability focused fund. Over 11 levels, abutting Hardware Ln, that property also has value-add retail potential.

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Marc Pallisco

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