Longriver offloads vertical retail site

Artist’s impression of the 41-45 A’Beckett Street proposal.

Longriver Group has sold the city’s Wilder House after winning approval to replace the 280 square metre block with a unique nine storey retail building.

The vendor banked c$9.4 million, a sizeable capital gain on the $7.7m it paid for 41-45 A’Beckett Street in April, 2020 – a month into the national lockdown.

The incoming owner is expected to proceed with the redevelopment, a Melbourne design first.

Colliers’ Oliver Hay, Daniel Wolman, Leon Ma and Anthony Kirwan were the agents.

Elsewhere in the CBD, Longriver is developing a 12 storey hotel at 124-132 Russell St – part of which was the ex-Melbourne Theosophical Society headquarters.

The group also holds the prominent former Continental Hotel, at the south east corner of Russell and Lonsdale streets.

Vertical retail comes to 24 hour precinct

Penned by Craig Tan Architects, which occupies the top (third) floor of the c1920, 668 sqm Wilder House, which will be razed, the proposal would contain traditional retail on the lower four levels with restaurants filling the balance (story continues below).

With an egg-crate texture-look exterior and artwork on both sides, it would rise 40 metres, appearing as stacked box like tenancies, between one and three storeys, around terraces and vertical gardens.

A basement would contain storage and bike parking.

Longriver said the design responds to the immediate demographic, with a high presence of Asian students, familiar with this form of vertical retail, also considered social hubs.

Near the Queen Victoria Market, RMIT, the University of Melbourne and the State Library stop of the Metro Tunnel project, the super-dense area is considered a 24 hour hospitality precinct.

Local population is set to surge 82pc over the next two decades, Colliers said – with more than 145,000 people set to be students.

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Marc Pallisco

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