Luxury car dealer Nick Theodossi has found a buyer for a North Melbourne super-site opposite one of five underground train stations being constructed as part of the $11 billion Metro Tunnel project.
Grocon, with the financial backing of GIC, formerly known as Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, is in due diligence for the properties – paying about $135 million.
The 1.5 hectares of land (pictured, top, marked) is strategic, forming part of a 56-hectare industrial zone known in planning circles as Arden, and which has been the subject of major urban renewal discussions, for decades.
Last year the government released a planning strategy affecting the area, Arden Vision, which is expected to be formalised next year after a community consultation period.
More than 15,000 residents are expected to call Arden home within 30 years.
About 34,000 are expected to work there.
The government – specifically VicTrack – controls much of the rail-related land in the pocket, especially west of Laurens Street.
The Theodossi offering
Mr Theodossi’s 12 sites are mostly on Arden Street, divided by Laurens Street.
A holding marketed for the recent sales campaign as Arden East includes Mr Theodossi’s large, rectangle-shaped main showroom at 185 Arden Street, and seven adjoining warehouses.
These sit on land zoned Mixed Use.
A second tranche of properties, promoted as Arden West, includes warehouse buildings between 189-203 Arden Street.
Set to be rezoned Mixed Use, these were available separately.
Straddling the new North Melbourne station, the sites could make way for product with an end value of more than $1 billion.
Mr Theodossi offered the parcels with plans for five 17-level Cox Architecture designed apartment buildings, capitalising on the north facing view security over North Melbourne Football Club.
What might Grocon propose?
It is speculated Grocon will propose a mixed use project comprising apartments, offices, shops, a hotel and maybe a build-to-rent development – but this could not be confirmed, a confidentiality clause in place affecting the deal.
Colliers International’s John Marasco, Rob Papaleo, Trent Hobart, Oliver Hay and Jozef Dickinson closed an off-market expressions of interest campaign for the Theodossi sites in mid-June.
At that time Mr Theodossi told realestatesource.com.au that, depending on the outcome of the sale process, he could stay at his 185 Arden Street showroom or relocate.
Any deal to Grocon comes a fortnight after we reported that the nearby Festival Hall stadium is for sale, for the first time in over a century.
Expected to sell for well below replacement value (about $30 million), that complex, near Southern Cross station, is being targeted to owner occupiers or investors which might consider a redevelopment utilising the airspace.
Elsewhere in Arden recently
Several developers have proposed projects in and around Arden over the past two years.
A 3068 square metre site at 36-52 Macaulay Road, which, like the Theodossi sites, overlooks North Melbourne Football Club, was recently permitted to make way for two buildings, rising 10 and 13 storeys, and containing a total of 180 apartments.
This holding is next door to a recently completed 12-level residential building.
Fridcorp has been trying to sell a block in this area for more than a year: 3-15 Shiel Street, a 1311 sqm plot, is permitted for a nine-storey building with 82 flats.
Near to this site, Perth based Cedar Woods won approval to replace a 1411 sqm parcel at 88 Leveson Street with a five-storey townhouse project.
It also tried to sell the block once the permit was in.
Early last year, the owners of a site next door to the Is Don Is Good silos, on Laurens Street, applied to build a 13-level office.