South Melbourne portfolio, including famous ex-music studio, fetching speculated c$45m


The ex-butter factory, later a music recording studio, at 180 Bank Street, South Melbourne

A portfolio of three South Melbourne development sites including the famous former Bill Armstrong Recording Studios, which was used by artists including Daddy Cool, John Farnham and The Easybeats, appears to have found a buyer – the latest major site sale in the suburb over the past 12 months.

Listed in May by the one vendor, the properties – two open-air car parks and the ex-music studio, which was housed in a former butter factory – are speculated to be selling to a developer.

The portfolio was offered as a whole with price expectations of about $45 million, or individually.

John Farnham

The most valuable asset at 180 Bank Street, and estimated upon listing to be worth about $30 million, comprises a freestanding 1930s art-deco office with 5267 square metres of net lettable area and two car parks.

Spread across a 2580 sq m battle-axe shape block on the north-east corner of Bank Place, this building also once housed DPP Studios, which carried out post-production work for movies including Mad Max: Fury Road, Lion and Hacksaw Ridge.

Adjoining this property is 217 Dorcas Street, a 613 sq m open air car park which was estimated to be worth about $6 million. Within metres of these holdings, another car park at 154 Bank Street, and with access to Union Place, was valued by the selling agents at $9 million.

The identity of the incoming owner is as yet unknown. Each of the online advertisements was marked “under offer” on Monday. Colliers International’s Daniel Wolman, Peter Bremner, Matt Stagg and Dave Walker listed the portfolio.

Last month, the Department of Treasury and Finance paid $23 million for a commercial site at 142 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, owned and occupied for 50 years prior, by electrical wholesaler L&H.

A low-rise warehouse on this 2714 square metre parcel – marketed by Lemon Baxter as one of the suburb’s “biggest, best and last” building blocks – is now set to be razed to make way for a multi-level complex for Victoria Police.

Late last year, in a surprise move, childcare operator Little Lane Learning paid $60 million for a 9356 sq m block at 68 Buckhurst Street, South Melbourne, which was offered with a permit for four high-density apartment towers containing more than 1000 flats.

In June it was reported advertising mogul and Crown Resorts director Harold Mitchell would list an eight year old office building, his former company headquarters, at 105 York Street, in what could be a $45 million-plus deal.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and experienced analyst, Marc is the co-founder of