Macquarie venture buys out two Melbourne apartment towers


Build to rent outfit Local has bought another entire apartment project off the plan – this time in Box Hill.

Local bought a South Melbourne project from Michael Dib last August.

The Macquarie backed group is picking up the residential component – 425 apartments – of Jeff Xu’s Golden Age Group’s $360 million Sky Square mixed use project, taking shape at 517-521 Station Street, on the south west corner of Cambridge.

The units will occupy two 17 storey skyscrapers, also with a 25 metre indoor pool, exercise and wellness studio, games and entertainment room, pet wash, electric car facilities and 1800 square metre outdoor space.

These structures will flank a three floor, 12,000 sqm podium Mr Xu will retain – Sky SQR – with retail, co-work offices and a c1700 sqm childcare centre, which recently hit the market for lease.

Wembley Hill in Box Hill South will contain 143 townhouses.

Golden Age paid Whitehorse City Council $56.98m including GST in 2016 for the 7344 sqm amalgamation of nine blocks making way for Sky Square.

The Local sale, brokered by Cushman & Wakefield’s Oliver Hay, comes nine days since we reported the developer won approval to replace the ex-St Leo’s College in neighbouring Box Hill South with 143 townhouses – a master planned project abutting Gardiners Creek called Wembley Hill.

Local buys in bulk again

With the turnkey Box Hill purchase, Local’s portfolio increases to 1300 dwellings.

It was 23 months ago the group, led by former Grocon executives Matt Berg and Dan McLennan, made its maiden acquisition – a $50m ex-TNT warehouse, in north west Kensington, now making way for 500 apartments, with an end value of c$420m.

Nicole Chow was that seller.

Last August meanwhile, Local paid Michael Dib’s Blue Earth Group c$280m on a funds through basis for a 40 level, 421-unit South Melbourne project (story continues below).

Vicinity is planning a 48 level tower as part of a $2 billion Box Hill Central revamp.

In its simplest form and excluding the resident only amenity, the outlay prices each Box Hill dwelling at $847,000.

Golden Age developed Sky One in Box Hill.

Thirty seven will be retained for social, affordable and specialist disability accommodation – part of the landlord’s plan to hold 10 per cent of its portfolio for these purposes. By 2032, it hopes to control 1500.

Quick sell

Fender Katsalidis penned Sky Square for Golden Age.

“We have spent considerable time exploring and researching the right direction for this project to ensure it caters to the suburb’s ever-evolving needs,” Mr Xu said.

“Box Hill is the perfect location for build to rent and we have always seen ourselves as a co-developer of Box Hill so it’s important every project aligns with the council’s strategic vision and the needs of current and future residents,” he added.

Local will hold the property in its Australian Turnkey Venture.

“Golden Age has an excellent track record in delivering high-quality mixed-use projects in sought after locations,” Mr Berg, said.

“The growth in the market of Box Hill has been extraordinary and we believe the location will endure through market cycles,” he added.

Residents are expected to take occupancy in about 24 months.

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Marc Pallisco

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