Salvation Army sells Geelong Conference Centre for over $6 million

The site (marked) is within Geelong’s Eastern Park.

A national hotel operator based in Melbourne is paying The Salvation Army more than $6 million for a conference centre and 46-suite hotel within Eastern Park, Geelong.

Interestingly the under-bidder was a brownfield developer wanting to replace the 1.6 hectare Special Use zoned site with apartments.

Medium density residential developers, aged care accommodation providers and schools also looked at the uniquely located property.

Constructed in 1981 as a bush retreat, 20 Adams Court, East Geelong, was penned by Melbourne architect firm McGlashan Everist.

The Salvation Army paid $2.35 million for it in 1994 and in 2008, invested $2 million on a renovation.

It was listed in February – the vendor saying it would direct proceeds to other initiatives.

As well as the hotel, Geelong Conference Centre is configured with seven function rooms, administration offices, a dining area, commercial kitchen and three bedroom manager’s residence – a total internal area of about 4500 square metres.

Outside the complex includes a car park, garden and pool/spa.

All of the resort-style complex abuts public space: its northern edge to East Geelong Golf Club.

Property attracted non-hospitality interest including a developer under-bidder: agents

Colliers International’s Andrew Lewis and Ben Young – who are based in Geelong – with Melbourne CBD agency colleague Guy Wells marketed the hospitality complex on a walk-in-walk-out basis.

The agents described the condition of the improvements as immaculate and promoted the venue’s “strong trading history” catering to large groups and families.

This property is like no other in the region, they added.

Because of its unique location – non-hospitality users also showed an interest – medium density residential developers, aged care accommodation providers and schools contesting, Mr Lewis said.

The agency closed an expressions of interest campaign for The Salvation Army on March 11.

Melburnians drive Geelong deals, developments

Last January, Leaf Corporation paid Perth-based Wesfarmers $10 million for Target’s North Geelong headquarters – later that year spending $3.4 million on a neighbouring 9275 sqm parcel from an owner-occupier.

Eleven months ago, a student accommodation provider, which like Leaf Corp, is based in Melbourne, spent $5 million on News Corp Australia’s Leader Newspaper’s long-time 191-195 Ryrie Street office.

Last May, two prime Norlane, Geelong, sites traded between Melbourne owners when Ford Australia sold Pelligra redundant manufacturing plants.

Mid-last year, Bidfoods – which in the city has its administration centre in Port Melbourne but is based in London’s Slough, is reported to have outlaid $3 million on a North Geelong warehouse from Cotton On executives.

Last November, Vicinity Centres sold shopping complex Corio Central to IP Generation, established by Melbourne’s Chris Lock, for $101 million.

However, another major Geelong region retail investment put to the market last year – Corio Central – ended up trading to Perth-based Primewest, for $44.25 million.

Quintessential Equity is completing construction of a Geelong office at 60 Mooroolbool Street for GMHBA.

The Collins Street investor and developer is also proceeding with an office on the 137 Mercer Street car park unveiled last October to become council next headquarters.

Up Property is developing several Geelong sites, too, including Belcher Arcade at 181 Mooroolbool Street – which is set to become an office.

The Armadale based builder and investor refurbished the commercial building at 126 Little Malop Street which News Corp Australia now rents for Geelong Advertiser.

In 2018, following an off-market campaign, Up paid $7 million for a c5000 sqm plot in Geelong’s Belmont.

The Geelong Conference Centre under-bidder is also based in Melbourne.

One of the 46 Geelong Conference Centre hotel suites.
Geelong Conference Centre includes a dining area and seven function rooms (above and bottom).

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Marc Pallisco

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