Historic Tomasetti House for sale again

The former Oriental Building, now Tomasetti House, at 277-279 Flinders Lane.


After six years, Wake Up! Properties is selling the Melbourne CBD’s distinctive Tomasetti House.

The Sydney based vendor paid education entrepreneur Shesh Ghale $16.2 million for the seven storey brick and bluestone office at 277-279 Flinders Lane.

At the time of purchase it was speculated the property would be converted into a high-end backpacker hostel.

Instead it has been retained as an investment by Wake Up! Properties, controlled by Millett Nominees’ directors Margaret and Warren Millett.

In 2015 the owners’ hospitality enterprise, Millett Group, fit out the basement level of the building as a bar, The Mill House.

The asset has a 24-hour trading licence and is also 9b compliant, which allows it to be used as a school.

With 3814 square metres of area, the 600 sqm site is adjacent to Degraves Street, one of the city’s most popular café-themed laneways.

Agency sources speculate Tomasetti House could sell for c$25 million, but this was not confirmed.

As well as investors, the asset could attract owner occupiers – last April, Swinburne University paid $44 million for the nearby, historic, seven-level, Invicta House, on a 742 sqm plot at 226-232 Flinders Lane.

Tomasetti House: 277-279 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Known from 1899 as the Oriental Building, 277-279 Flinders Lane was developed from 1853 by William Degraves for his flour milling and merchant business.

It was five levels at the time – making it one of Melbourne’s largest buildings, according to this Heritage Council of Victoria listing.

“The façade is divided vertically into three bays, with a large base section, a vertical central section and an attic floor,” the listing said.

“The most distinctive elements are the row of three massive horse-shoe arches on the ground floor, which give it an Arabic flavour, further emphasised by the banding of render and red brick in the four major vertical piers…and octagonal terminating turrets.

“Architecturally, the former Oriental building is notable as one of the most distinctive and unusual of the Ewardian era ‘tall-arched, red-brick’ buildings in the city area”.

CBRE’s Mark Wizel, Josh Rutman, Julian White and Lewis Tong are marketing 277-279 Flinders Lane for the Millett family.

Part of Tomasetti House fit out as a classroom. The building is permitted to trade as a school.
Degraves Street is named after the developer and original occupier of 277-279 Flinders Lane.

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Marc Pallisco

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

Marc Pallisco