Port Melbourne Development Boom

The Macquarie Real Estate Equity Fund has again teamed with developer McMullin Group to buy a 2.1 hectare development site at 174 Turner Street Port Melbourne, abutting the busy junction where the West Gate Freeway merges into Citilink and near the Docklands border.

It is planning a boutique business park which will include about 35 fully refurbished office showrooms in a first stage, and brand new industrial showrooms on an existing car park, in a second stage.

It is speculated the consortium paid about $12 million for the development site, in a deal negotiated by CB Richard Ellis associate director Walter Occhiuto. The property was sold with a short term lease to Toll Logistics, which uses it as a customs freight lodgement and collection centre.

Last year the Macquarie/McMullin consortium paid Investa close to $18 million for the older style Citylink Business at 880 Lorimer Street nearby, which it is developing into a $52 million office showroom project branded Lorimer Place.

McMullin Group chief executive officer Trevor Gorman said it has been pleased with the take of space at Lorimer Place, and is confident about the wider precinct, which is flanked by Citilink, the Westgate Freeway and Mirvac’s Yarra’s Edge residential development at Docklands.

Mr Gorman said units in its Turner Street project will start from about $2.5 million.

In a separate deal, developer CGA Bryson this week also announced plans for a $30 million, 50-unit industrial showroom development at 320 Plummer Street, on the corner of Prohasky Street in the traditional Port Melbourne industrial precinct. The site merges into the Todd Road onramp of the West Gate Freeway.

CGA Bryson managing director Neil Bryson said work on the 1.6 hectare site is expected to commence in May, with completion scheduled for late 2009. It paid $9.7 million for the site in another deal negotiated by Mr Occhiuto.

Mr Bryson said the Plummer Street development will be aimed at owner occupiers and investors keen to secure a unit in a quality, smaller development in the precinct. He described the design as “architecturally interesting” with high quality facades and well planned amenity.

He said units would start from $300,000 and range in size from 100 square metres up to 300 square metres.

“This is the first time the small end of the market has been targeted with a planned environment that will provide a business park like atmosphere with high quality fit out in a landscaped environment,” he said.

Like Macquarie and McMullin, the CGA Bryson development is one of two under construction in the area at the moment. Last year it announced plans for a $14 million industrial showroom development at 11 – 12 Phillip Court, between Kraft Foods and Holden’s engine manufacturing plant.

CGA Bryson also recently completed the $90 million Portpark Corporate park on Williamstown Road.

Last year, the developer launched its funds management division.

Mr Bryson said its Plummer Street development will be the seed asset for the CGA Bryson Opportunity Fund 1, that will be progressively raising up to $100 million for it, and a range of other developments.

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Marc Pallisco

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