Hillsong is paying $23.4 million for West Melbourne’s Festival Hall.
The Pentecostal church began negotiations in April after concluding as the under-bidder following an expressions of interest campaign last November.
The initial purchaser, a consortium of media groups, withdrew its bid in March fearing COVID-19 impacts on the entertainment industry.
It is the first time the stadium has sold in 105 years.
Two industrial investments surrounding Festival Hall, used for administration and storage, are now for public sale – each expected to trade for more than $3.5m.
Festival Hall will be part developed
Festival Hall at 300 Dudley Street is metropolitan Melbourne’s eight largest entertainment venue ranked by capacity – with the ability to carry 5400 in full mode.
As a seated-only venue it can accommodate 4500.
It was developed in 1955 by the Wren family, after a fire destroyed a facility constructed in 1913 by Sydney boxing promoter R L Baker.
On a 4135 square metre block, it was for years at first known as West Melbourne Stadium (story continues below).
Hillsong intends to occupy the complex as an anchor tenant while renting it out on vacant days for an income.
The church has also earmarked building a three storey wing as a kids ministry.
According to the three year old KPMG Stadium Ownership Report, the average construction cost for an Australian stadium seat is $10,000 ex-land.
Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall cost $12,285, factoring in the real estate, the marketing agents said.
Owner-occupiers strongly represented: agents
The Wren family retained Festival Hall as an investment.
The property was targeted to developers – the airspace having the potential to make way for at least two towers of over 20 floors.
The address is a city-gateway connecting Docklands to E-Gate, which is earmarked longer-term for major urban renewal.
It is walking distance to Southern Cross train station.
The state government, private schools, and hospitality, healthcare and retail groups – as well and those in the media sector – were also said to have been showing an interest during the 2019 expressions of interest campaign.