Southern Indoor Bowls Club fetches $10.26 million from developer

A 1962 image from website Cinema Treasures, showing the property as the Camden Theatre.

The Southern Indoor Bowls Club in Melbourne’s Caulfield South has sold for $10.26 million – more than $1 million over the reserve.

Eight developers vied for the 2295 square metre land holding at 348-354 Hawthorn Road.

Zoned Commercial 1, the site is expected to be replaced with a premium-quality apartment complex.

The property is 50 metres from the Glen Huntly Road shopping strip, about nine kilometres south-east of the CBD.

The Southern Indoor Bowls Club was established when it acquired this property in 1968.

Developed in 1935 as the Camden Theatre, 348-354 Hawthorn Road was reconfigured to include 10 full-size rinks, a mezzanine bar and lounge.

However with the advent of technology allowing for the better grass management of outdoor bowl surfaces – the need for an indoor club became less relevant over later decades.

The site (outlined) is 50 metres to the Glen Huntly Road retail strip.

Southern Cross Bowls Club listed the site with Savills in May, a year after it stopped accepting members.

Sale proceeds from 348-354 Hawthorn Road will be distributed to other bowls clubs in the area.

“Whilst we are saddened that the 50 year history of the club is drawing to a close, we are delighted to have been able to deliver a wonderful result for the members, and for the clubs that will benefit from this realisation process,” Southern Cross Bowls Club president Ted Russell said.

“The fact that Savills has achieved a result more than $1 million above our expectations is particularly pleasing and represents a significant windfall for beneficiary clubs once the proceeds of sale are distributed”.

The former Camden Theatre was re-purposed as an indoor bowls club by 1968.

Clinton Baxter, Nick Peden and Glenn Ye were the marketing agents.

“We were literally ‘bowled over’ in the rush for this property with local developers hotly contesting the opportunity and outbidding major international interest” Mr Baxter said.

“The ultimate sale price being well above the reserve price of $9 million and at a remarkable $4,500 per sqm for the land demonstrates the confidence that is rapidly returning to the market post-federal election.”

“Savills has experienced a profound surge of buyer interest in development properties across Melbourne since the federal election result, which has been further spurred on by the recent RBA cut in official interest rates.

“There is no doubt that developers once again have confidence in the direction of the market, and are seeking to secure sites ahead of ongoing population growth which is again putting upward pressure on rental and housing values” Mr Baxter said.

“We can confidentially say that the Southern Cross Bowling Club has benefitted from the federal election result by more than $1 million, such is the shift in the market.”

Mr Peden added that the holding “represents an outstanding opportunity to develop for a wide range of possible uses, in a location that is so attractive to developers. Also, with the club offering a long 15 month settlement to allow the members another winter bowling season, it was a particularly compelling offering.”

The site the Australian Order of Buffaloes acquired for $1.6 million (shaded). The Southern Indoor Bowls Club can be seen adjacent.

Last November, the Australian Order of Buffaloes paid $1.6 million for 790 Glen Huntly Road, a former bank building adjacent to the Southern Indoor Bowls Club.

Shortly after, the Cohen family sold 380 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South, for $7.9 million. Occupied by Godfreys at present, this 1781 sqm block, also zoned Commercial 1, has longer term development upside.

Jewish Care Victoria also offloaded a site last year – the former Mark and Dina Munzer Community Residential Aged Complex, on 3683 sqm of land in Caulfield North, exchanging for $10.8 million late last year.

In 2012, the Alma Sports Club traded its 7100 sqm site at 1 Wilks Street, Caulfield North, to residential developers. The property once included three tennis courts, two squash rooms, a bowling green and restaurant occupied by the now defunct club, which was established in 1927.

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Marc Pallisco

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