Investa, Oxford buy ex-Footscray public site for $450m Build to Rent project

The site (shaded) from a former marketing campaign.

A prominent Footscray site which was publicly owned until late 2016 has sold to Investa Office Management and Oxford Properties for a Build to Rent project with c770 dwellings.

Three McNab Avenue was offloaded by a company controlled by local developer George Ters who 18 months ago earmarked it for a mixed-use village topped with a six-level hotel made out of shipping containers.

For a short period more than four years ago the 6916 square metre triangle tract was owned by Places Victoria which with an adjoining parcel about the same size, had master-planned a residential and student accommodation based project with 18 storey towers.

Before then, and for most of the period it wasn’t zoned Activity Centre, VicTrack, another government agency, controlled it.

The parcel is next door to a 12-floor office developed in 2014 and majority leased to State Trustees, which has naming rights, and City West Water.

IOM, Oxford, BTR and Footscray

Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of Toronto pension fund OMERS, took a 50pc stake in IOM a month ago.

In December, 2018, it spent $4.5 billion for the Investa Office Fund, now known as Oxford Investa Property Partnership.

The pair is looking to boost a local BTR pipeline focused on the south east capitals.

In Sydney, Oxford, with Investa providing investment and development management services, is proposing a 39-level investment of this type with 230 dwellings on a site over the new Pitt Street Metro station (story continues below).

The Footscray project will be three times bigger than that in terms of the number of units; the estimated end value is c$450m.

It is unknown what the purchasers are paying for the land, six kilometres west of town; agents were seeking over $10m when it was last for public sale (2016).

Australia’s BTR sector “one of the most attractive institutional investment opportunities globally”: Investa

“Ultimately we are looking to deliver developments that will revitalise a site and its surrounding area and establish [this type of] accommodation as the leading residential rental option in Australia,” Investa BTR fund manager, James Greener, said of its product philosophy.

Colleague, chief investment officer, Peter Menegazzo, added the country’s BTR sector has been identified as “one of the most attractive institutional investment opportunities globally”.

In recent months both the New South Wales and Victorian governments have sought to attract private sector investment by discounting land tax for projects delivered until 2040.

Last week, we reported New York based Sentinel acquired an ex-motel in Perth’s Scarborough for a 24-storey investment of this type.

“With a growing pipeline of projects and increasing interest from investors…we are considering opportunities to bring in capital partners alongside Oxford’s equity to help fund the…growth – underpinning [our] commitment to build a significant BTR portfolio,” according to Mr Menegazzo.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of