Riverlee and Bamfa Properties propose 13-level office on Jeff Kennett’s former HQ

A double-storey Richmond office sold in 2009 by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett is set to be replaced with a 13-level tower.

Joint venture partners Riverlee and Bamfa Properties have launched a leasing campaign for the $190 million complex earmarked to replace 484 Swan Street.

Being promoted as the tallest building in the precinct, the structure will contain 17,000 square metres of office area, ground floor retail and 1500 sqm of terrace and garden space.

It has been penned by boutique architect Techne which recently completed the refurbishment of St Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade.

An image from the 2009 marketing campaign when the office was sold by a consortium including former Victorian premier, Jeff Kennett.

The proposal will replace a 730 sqm building which former premier Jeff Kennett bought for $1.4 million in 2000 and sold for $3.33 million in 2009.

Co-owned with his wife Felicity and business partner, sports tournament promoter, Tony Roosenburg, Mr Kennett reportedly retained an upstairs area for his personal ventures – including Beyond Blue which was established nearly 19 years ago. The owners rented the balance of the office space out.

The building occupies a 1163 sqm site adjacent to Burnley train station.

Riverlee and Bamfa Properties’ proposed redevelopment will include a pedestrian laneway linking the property to the train stop.

“The premier inner-city fringe address has been designed to cater to the influx of new-age businesses scheduled to relocate to the area over the next two years as more companies seek to relocate from the CBD and suburbs to the amenity and lifestyle of Richmond and Cremorne” the developers said.

Sony Music recently leased this warehouse opposite Richmond train station as its local headquarters.

Savills director of Office Leasing, Victoria, Philip Cullity, with Cushman & Wakefield’s Ben McKendry said the proposed building would “set a new standard for office design and efficiency”.

“484 provides everything in the form of smart building technology, column-free floors and amenity for the next generation of businesses,” Mr Cullity said.

“A state-of-the-art end-of-trip facility, dubbed ‘a sensory, subterranean world’, will be available for tenants to refresh, relax and rejuvenate, while space to breathe with barbecue facilities and exercise spaces will be available on an expansive rooftop terrace, offering spectacular 180 degree views from Melbourne’s CBD to the Dandenongs”.

Artist’s impression of Riverlee’s proposed $450 million Northbank development.

Riverlee Development Director David Lee, the son of company founder Clement, added that “the innovative precinct will be perfectly suited for the new wave of socially-minded and environmentally-conscious companies due to its heavy emphasis on environmentally sustainable design and connectivity”.

“484 Swan Street offers the chance to join a growing movement of businesses who are choosing to move into the Richmond and Cremorne area, to offer more imaginative, inspiring and progressive environments for their people,” he said.

About two kilometres from the city centre, Richmond and in particular a riverside pocket of it, Cremorne, has seen a wave of tenant, developer and investor interest, over the past 24 months.

Today we reported that accounting firm BR Wellington will relocate from 362 Little Collins Street, in the Melbourne CBD, to a standalone office at 177 Burnley Street, Richmond.

Last month we reported that Mantra Group committed to an unpermitted 11-storey hotel proposed by the Brady family’s Amber Property Group at 203-207 Bridge Road, Richmond.

CostaFox recently received planning permission to replace 1-11 Gordon Street, Cremorne, with an eight-level, 5000 sqm strata office complex.

CostaFox’s strata office proposal for 1-11 Gordon Street, Cremorne.

Last month, CostaFox paid $11.5 million for a low-rise residential site on a 974 sqm block across the road, at 22-26 Gordon Street, which is also mooted for a 5000 sqm commercial complex.

Last September, an office developer paid $7.1 million for four adjoining terraces on a 546 sqm block at 102-106 Stephenson Street. This deal valued the land at about $13,000 per square metre.

Several office lease deals have also been struck, three of them to software producer MYOB, which is expected to be the precinct’s biggest occupier by 2020.

This month, Sony opened its new local headquarters, within a warehouse at 5 Stewart Street, opposite the Richmond train station.

Leasing agents say Cremorne, along with South Melbourne, command amongst the city’s highest office rents outside of the CBD.

Riverlee controls numerous sites in the city. It recently snared 1Hotels to occupy a proposed mixed-use complex, Northbank, near the western edge of the Melbourne CBD.

Riverlee, Bamfa Properties, and Costa Asset Management, control some 750 hectares of land in Lovely Banks, near Geelong, which earmarked to make way for development worth some $4 billion, and containing about 10,000 dwellings.

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Marc Pallisco

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