One of Melbourne’s highest profile retailers is turning property developer.
Franco Cozzo – whose television commercials are as distinctive as the European furniture he sells – has applied to build an eight-storey apartment complex (pictured, top) on the site of his Brunswick store, about six kilometres north of the CBD.
The proposal, first reported by website Urban this morning, would see the heritage elements of the building at 466-474 Sydney Road, on the north-east corner of Victoria Street (pictured, left), retained and enhanced.
A Fender Katsalidis designed tower will rise into the airspace containing 32 apartments – 10 configured with one bedroom. Fifteen of the proposed dwellings will contain two bedrooms, the balance will be configured with three. A two level basement car park is also mooted as part of the complex which would need to be approved by the City of Moreland council.
The project, dubbed Franco Apartments, will contain retail space on its ground-floor which Fairfax Media is reporting will be occupied as a restaurant, with pizzas, pastries and gelati, to be run by one of Franco’s daughters, Angelina, a chef.
Mr Cozzo has owned the Brunswick asset for 37 years. News of the his store closure comes weeks after another Sydney Road retailer, Mariana Hardwick, confirmed plans to relocate from an outlet almost opposite Franco Cozzo, to South Melbourne.
In June, the octogenarian Sicilian sold his western suburb store in Footscray for $7 million to local developer Pelligra Group, which has been an active buyer recently acquiring sites in nearby Braybrook, and Richmond, east of Melbourne.
Pelligra Group is expected to replace that property at 54-56 Hopkins Street (pictured, left) with a mixed-use office building.
Franco Cozzo, which was established in the 1960s, will continue to trade at Footscray until property settlement in about three years.