Pace Development Group offers retail slice of Abbotsford’s St Crispin House

Pace Development Group is selling a strata-titled retail investment forming part of its St Crispin’s House apartment project, in Melbourne’s inner city Abbotsford.

The 250 square metre property is rented to Blackhearts and Sparrow at a current annual rate of $100,000 ex-GST.

With a guide price of close to $2 million, Pace is seeking a sub 6 per cent yield.

The offering is about two kilometres north east of the city.

Within a historic component of Pace’s 12-storey, 133-dwelling, St Crispin House redevelopment, it is next door to a Woolworths Metro store.

Being marketed by Aston Commercial’s Liam Rafferty and Jeremy Gruzewski as 249 Johnston Street, the asset has 20 metres of street frontage giving any incoming owner the prospect of subdividing upon the tenant vacating.

Blackhearts and Sparrow’s 10 lease includes renewal options.

St Crispin House’s recent history

Pace paid $13 million in 2015 for 249-253 Johnston Street, which contained a double storey red brick building constructed in 1923 then part-occupied by Grimson Shoe Machinery Company.

A century ago, Abbotsford was a shoe manufacturing hub, according to this Heritage Council of Victoria listing about the property.

St Crispin is said to be the patron saint of shoemakers.

In 2012, the 2023 sqm site was the subject of a failed 19 storey development application.

In July, 2017, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal permitted that Pace’s proposal could rise 12 levels.

Pace launched a pre-sales marketing campaign a month after – near the last Melbourne residential property peak.

By the time of the official launch – mid-October, 2017 – buyer enquiry, particularly for inner Melbourne apartments, had began collapsing.

Following the May, 2019, federal election, a swift recovery is taking place.

Last August, Pace paid $20 million for a 2434 sqm apartment development site in Fitzroy – a neighbouring suburb to Abbotsford.

A month later it paid $4.1 million for a Hawthorn East warehouse permit-ready to be replaced with a nine-level apartment building.

Instead, Pace said at the time, it intends to construct at office on the 464 sqm 9 Montrose Street block.

The historic red brick warehouse sits at the front of a 12 level apartment building.
Blackhearts and Sparrow pays annual rent of $100,000 ex-GST to occupy the 250 square metre space.
The renovated retail property is next door to a Woolworths Metro outlet.

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Marc Pallisco

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