Mirvac pays $200m for ex-Melbourne Convention Centre

Impression of the now abandoned St Regis hotel.

Mirvac Group is paying $200 million for the former Melbourne Convention Centre site at 7-23 Spencer Street, between Sidderley Street and the Yarra River.

In a deal announced on Christmas Eve, the purchaser has earmarked a 430-dwelling Build to Rent project for part of the land.

A 40,000 square metre office tower with large floorplates (c2000 sqm) is proposed for the balance.

The site vendor, a partnership comprising China Century Group Australia and Exhibition & Travel Group, had intended an $800m mixed-use village, Flinders Bank, including a 168-suite hotel which would have been Australia’s first St Regis.

Another new future for Melbourne Convention Centre/Melbourne Congress Centre site

China Century Group and Exhibition and Travel Group paid Nuway Wy $97 million for the 4500 sqm 7-23 Spencer St plot in 2016.

At the time the parcel behind Crowne Plaza was permitted for a residential complex with 1100 dwellings in three towers.

The high-profile holding – once known for housing the Melbourne Convention Centre – contains offices formerly part-leased to Crown while that occupier’s Southbank casino was being constructed.

The pocket connects the CBD with Docklands and Southbank.

Not far west of 7-23 Spencer St, Riverlee is developing a $450m project with apartments and a 1 Hotel on the Seafarers Mission site it is marketing as in Northbank (story continues below).

In mid-2017, education entrepreneur, developer and philanthropist Shesh Ghale outlaid a speculated $30m for the ex-Sir Charles Hotham hotel, at 2-8 Spencer St.

Mirvac brands precinct Flinders West

Mirvac expects to settle on the purchase of 7-23 Spencer St within 18 months from March, 2020 (so up until August, 2021).

But it has already branded its proposal as Flinders West.

Construction is expected to be complete within five years of settlement.

“This site provides us with an opportunity to add to our high-quality Melbourne office portfolio and grow our burgeoning build-to-rent portfolio in a location supported by strong transport links, ongoing infrastructure investment and favourable demographics,” the company’s chief executive officer Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said.

The purchase comes a month after Mirvac snapped up a Brunswick block – also for a BTR project.

Last June the group paid PDG Corporation $333.5m on a funds-through basis for a 38-storey investment of this type, with 490 flats.

It is also building a BTR project at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

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Marc Pallisco

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