South Yarra’s Jam Factory Set For $700 Million Redevelopment

The $700 million redevelopment will include 8000 square metres of offices, at least one high-rise apartment tower, a 100-room hotel and 54,000 square metres of shops, more than double the present size.

The company behind the makeover plans is Jam Factory owner Challenger, which is part-owned by James Packer, Australia’s third richest person with an estimated net worth of more than $6.1 billion.

The 150-year-old building on Chapel Street is protected by a heritage overlay, but rear parts of the site and a Garden Street car park would come down as part of the redevelopment.

Artists’ impressions released by Challenger do not include the former brewery building, which was turned into the headquarters for the Victorian Preserving Company in 1876 and later Henry Jones IXL, which produced jam at the site until 1970.

The site was developed into a shopping centre in 1979 and redeveloped as the Jam Factory in 1995.

The latest redevelopment is expected to see many tenants stay on during construction, including Village Cinemas and Cinema Europa, which operate 15 screens between them.

Borders bookshop might also stay on beyond the renovation, sources said.

Challenger spokeswoman Lynn Anderson said the company had received positive feedback from existing and prospective tenants for the development. Council discussions were under way to create a new vision for the site, she said.

A permit for the Jam Factory is expected to be lodged this financial year, with construction set for completion by the end of 2012, Ms Anderson said.

A Stonnington City Council spokeswoman confirmed it had had early discussions with Challenger about a redevelopment and it was awaiting an application.

There is speculation Challenger may sell the Jam Factory after it receives a permit for redevelopment, depending on the cycle in the market.

It was reported last year that Challenger would team up with private developer R. Corporation to incorporate a Jam Factory redevelopment with that of the nearby former Surrey Road Transfer Station.

The council is expected to approve both applications given the Melbourne 2030 policy that encourages medium and high-density development around existing transport and retail hubs.

South Yarra has been identified as one of 26 principal activity centres in Melbourne 2030, along with such areas as Ringwood, Sydenham and Dandenong.

High-rise developments have become more common in South Yarra, with towers developed or under construction in the Forrest Hill precinct near South Yarra train station and behind the Como building and on the Fun Factory site, both on corners of Chapel Street and Toorak Road.

 

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Marc Pallisco

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

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