Self storage operator snaps up ex-Kodak HQ


Self storage operator Carl Sachs has purchased Abbotsford’s ex-Kodak and Carlton & United Breweries headquarters (pictured, top) and three neighbouring warehouses, for $19 million.

Hengyi offered the Abbotsford property with plans for a nine level extension.

The buildings – all up covering 3099 square metres – were offered by Hengyi which paid $16.5m in 2015.

The ex-Kodak headquarters and three warehouses cover 3099 square metres.

That seller, Wyllie Group, picked them up in 2007 from CUB as part of a $41m portfolio with seven other assets in the immediate area.

Fitzroys’ Paul Burns and Chris James brokered the latest sale.

Their deal comes a fortnight since we reported Harry the Hirer boss Rick Jamieson paid the Zagame family over $30m – some 20 per cent over guide – for a warehouse converted office at 112 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford.

In 2021, meanwhile, fund manager Bayley Stuart spent $86m for the Craft Works office in the suburb, at the north east corner of Nicholson and Mollison streets.

That seller was CHT Architects director David Carabott and builder Hamilton Marino.

Investment, development site

Hengyi offered the property permit-ready for a nine level office with 129 car parks to replace the three warehouses – 27-29 Duke Street and 36 Bond.

The ex-CUB building, developed in 1928 for Kodak, at 2-6 Southampton St, has also been used an investment; with 6048 square metres, it is 28 per cent leased to Starpharma.

All up the improvements generate annual income of $840,000.

Hengyi’s general manager, Simon Manly, said the property no longer aligned with its business model to develop residential-based, mixed use projects.

“However we look forward to seeing the new owner redevelop the site in the future,” he added (story continues below).

The Sachs property (centre) is earmarked for a self storage facility.

Next chapter for historic Kodak HQ

Starpharma leases 28 per cent of 2-6 Southampton Crescent.

Mr Sachs will develop the approved building, attach it to the Southampton St one, and create a c10,404 sqm self storage facility with more than 1200 units.

Curve Cycling occupies 36 Bond Street, Abbotsford.

“This location presented a unique opportunity for our construction and property development division,” Gayle Sachs, director of the new owner, Howzit My China Pty Ltd, said.

Mr Burns added that since COVID, self storage operators have increased fees, which is following through to revenue growth.

“Listed and private self storage players continue to record strong sets of numbers amid an ongoing imbalance between supply and demand,” according to the executive.

“Abbotsford and the surrounding inner Melbourne suburbs have a large and growing number of medium and high density dwellings that are conducive to requiring self storage options nearby, making this an opportune repositioning play” he said.

“Particularly at a time of flexible working arrangements, more and more Melburnians are looking to live in inner suburbs with high accessibility and quality lifestyle amenity.

“Developers such as Salta, Hamton, Icon and Pace have all recently completed residential projects in rapidly gentrifying Abbotsford, and development in neighbouring locations such as Collingwood, Richmond and Fitzroy is continuing apace.

“The elevated demand for self storage facilities in the area is very likely to increase in the coming years…[and] as a location, Abbotsford is one of Melbourne’s last city fringe suburbs with genuine unrealised development potential, and this offered a rare, ready to go development opportunity”.

Mr James said office investors were prevalent in the mix of prospective buyers – finding neighbouring Richmond and Cremorne too heated.

“A number of buyers were looking to capitalise on the growing demand from office users seeking affordable, city fringe accommodation,” he said.

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Marc Pallisco

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