ISPT hands Melbourne’s 271 Spring Street to Australian Unity

Industry Superannuation Property Trust has completed construction of a major office at a historic Melbourne CBD corner.

The 16-storey tower, 271 Spring Street (pictured, top and below), was handed over to its sole tenant, Australian Unity, last week.

The building sits at the north-east edge of what was a notorious former red-light district known as Little Lon, considered to be bound by Spring, Lonsdale, Little Lonsdale and Exhibition streets.

Notorious within 20 years of Melbourne being established as a city, the area contained numerous brothels, including elite establishment, Madame Brussels.

Today the precinct contains office buildings, including the landmark Casselden (formerly known as Casselden Place) at 2 Lonsdale Street.

Artist’s impression of the 271 Spring Street foyer.

In about 2002, when construction began of another office, once known as Urban Workshop but now branded 50 Lonsdale Street, archaeologists unearthed artefacts and records connected to the Little Lon era. These are now held by Museums Victoria.

A couple of historic hotels including the former Oddfellows and Black Eagle (which is now a shop) still stand.

ISPT incorporated another, the Elms Family Hotel, as part the $164 million 271 Spring Street development.

Elms Family Hotel closed in 2016 after 160 years of operation.

It was two years ago when ISPT secured Australian Unity to pre-commit for 15 years to all of the proposed 15,600 square metre tower, which also contains a rooftop terrace capturing north and east Melbourne views.

Australian Unity will relocate its headquarters from a 14-level office opposite Albert Park Lake, in South Melbourne, which is now being extended and re-purposed into an 18-storey vertical aged care and retirement complex.

Australian Unity will extend and re-purpose its long-time South Melbourne headquarters into a vertical aged care complex (artist’s impression).

ISPT and Australian Unity have co-owned an investment-grade asset since 2014 – the Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre near Geelong (ISPT paid Australian Unity $63 million for a half stake).

Late last year ISPT sold the Campbellfield Plaza shopping centre in Melbourne’s north to Charter Hall Retail REIT for $74 million.

ISPT also acquired three neighbouring Melbourne CBD from Victoria University including the historic former Records Office at 287-295 Queen Street and Land Titles Office at 247-283 Queen Street.

ISPT will replace the third property, 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street, with a 32-level vertical campus the college will rent for 30 years upon completion and brand VU Tower.

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Marc Pallisco

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