Hines acquires another Melbourne BTR block

Apartments would offer city skyline views.

Hines has snapped up another Build to Rent site, this time in North Melbourne.

The 3068 square metre holding, 36-58 Macaulay Road, at the north east corner of Haines, opposite the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve, is costing the US property giant c$30 million.

Vendors CDL, Crema and Lechte Corporation paid Platinum Taxis $20.35m for the former depot in 2019 – then obtained a permit for two apartment towers of 14 and 11 floors – a project branded Arco.

Hines is expected to proceed with the approved project which retains a two storey heritage building wrapping around it.

About 220 units are planned.

JLL’s Josh Rutman, Nick Peden, David Hill and MingXuan Li with Colliers’ Trent Hobart, Jozef Dickinson and Robert Papaleo were the agents.

Their campaign promoted that the approved building shells, containing 21,047 square metres, could deliver a variety of uses as well as traditional residential including a hotel, vertical aged care, student accommodation or offices.

The deal comes seven months since Hines made its maiden Australian BTR land purchase – a 4247 sqm Brunswick block offered permit-ready for more than 250 units, which cost $16.5m.

In Melbourne, the group is also building an office at the bottom of Wellington St, Collingwood – a site it acquired for $28.5m in late 2019.

Australia a strategic market: Hines

Hines senior managing director and country head, Australia, David Warneford, said the company has deep global experience in BTR development, operations and investment management, with substantial platforms in the US and Europe (story continues below).

“Australian BTR is a key, strategic market for growth for our firm and our investors globally and as such we are thrilled to be growing our BTR platform,” colleague, head of Living, Sam Bisla, added.

“36-58 Macaulay Rd will deliver one of the highest quality BTR projects in one of Melbourne’s most attractive residential locations,” according to the executive.

Elsewhere in the area, outgoing Nick Theodossi showrooms at the corner of Arden and Laurens streets, were snapped up in 2020 by GIC and Grocon with plans for a BTR venture – however that deal never proceeded.

Another couple of BTR projects are mooted in neighbouring Kensington including one with 199 units at 15 Thompson St (previously known as 88 Stubbs St), which Assembly won permission to develop last week.

Late last year Macquarie Asset Management acquired a former TNT-warehouse abutting Macaulay train station, also with plans for a product of this type.

“Melbourne’s residential affordability issues are well documented, so its no surprise that sophisticated groups like Hines are actively seeking to acquire well located inner-city landholdings for Build to Rent projects,” Mr Rutman said.

“Sites capable of accommodating more than 200 units are receiving an influx of developer demand, and this sale is a prime example of the increasing capital piling into the burgeoning sector,” he added.

“The Macaulay Rd campaign generated over a dozen offers from a diverse pool of bidders”.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.