Philanthropic group list Gothic Melbourne office

Donkey Wheel House is expected to sell for more than $25 million.

The historic Donkey Wheel House, next door to Fragrance Group’s Premier Tower, known locally as the Beyonce building, is for sale.

The office once housed the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company.

The four level Gothic style investment is being offloaded by One Fund Management Limited, via an entity, the Ethical Property Commercial Fund, backed by local charity Donkey Wheel Trust and UK social enterprise Ethical Property Company.

DWT acquired the asset in 2008, later partnering with the National Trust for a refurbishment and to get it heritage classified.

Fully let, it carries c$25 million-plus price hopes.

The brick building, between Defence Plaza and Premier Tower.

Colliers’ Daniel Wolman, Oliver Hay, Matthew Stagg and Leon Ma are the agents.

“[Donkey Wheel House] is one of the finest examples of a classic style building in the Melbourne CBD and has been painstakingly refurbished by the vendors to accommodate the needs of modern day commercial, retail and hospitality tenants,” Mr Wolman said.

“The vendor has also succeeded to enhance the environmental performance of the asset, increasing the NABERS rating from 2 to 4.5 stars, which is very high for a building of this vintage,” according to the executive.

Developed in 1891, the building was designed by Twentyman and Askew, which also penned the Royal and Block arcades, and occupied by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company.

Donkey Wheel House

At 669-675 Bourke Street, one holding from the corner of Spencer, opposite Southern Cross train station – Donkey House contains 2990 square metres of area, including two ground floor retail tenancies, one occupied by the Salvation Army for a store (story continues below).

Donkey House is walking distance to Southern Cross station.

The office component is rented to philanthropic groups on various agreements expiring up to 2026, amongst them, The Big Issue Australia, SPELD Victoria, Waverley Industries and Climate Council of Australia.

DWT is headquartered there too.

The site spreads 923 sqm.

“When Donkey Wheel Trust purchased the property…it did so with a vision to create a ‘communiversity’ – a place to enable people to come together to develop new ideas to shape a better society,” the group’s chief executive officer, Paul Steele, said.

“This has been achieved by co-locating social and environmental impact organisations in the building, providing them with access to people, skills, services and opportunities that help them achieve more,” according to the executive.

Matt Stagg added the property is in one of the city’s fastest growing precincts, with future rental development upside.

“The asset is ideally suited to a high-net worth private investors, family offices and philanthropic foundations seeking an iconic Melbourne CBD commercial real estate investment that also benefits from strong architectural, environmental and social enterprise attributes,” he said.

“Commercial owner-occupiers may also consider the property as a prominent Melbourne CBD headquarters with naming rights potentially available as part of the sale”.

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Marc Pallisco

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