Swinburne sells Invicta House

Fidinam will refurbish the art deco warehouse as an office.

Swinburne University has sold Flinders Lane’s art deco Invicta House for $40.7 million.

Fidinam, from Switzerland’s Italian speaking Lugano, near Milan, is the buyer.

The building will be refurbished as an office and held by the ST Australia Real Estate fund.

It is the fifth Melbourne CBD asset for the group.

Fidinam Australia managing director Matthew Burrows added it is the second “value-add purchase” in the city.

Invicta House

Invicta House is walking distance to the Town Hall and Flinders Street stations.

The century-old seven storey warehouse has a gross lettable area of 4501 square metres and activated rooftop.

It occupies a 741 sqm block at the corner of Monaghan Place – one of the city’s busiest pedestrian areas – near Swanston Street.

Colliers’ Daniel Wolman, Matt Stagg and Oliver Hay listed it last July, just before Melbourne’s second stage four lockdown.

Vendor to focus on Hawthorn, Fed Square

Swinburne acquired Invicta House in 2019 with plans to convert it as an event space.

Like other Melbourne schools including RMIT, however, it reweighed its property portfolio to deal with short-term COVID impacts.

The college will now invest at its Hawthorn campus.

It has also formed a partnership with ACMI to establish Swinburne Studio at Federation Square.

The school has additionally struck agreements to, when needed, utilise other Melbourne CBD space (story continues below).

Next chapter

Invicta House is now earmarked for an office conversion.

“This being our second value-add purchase in the last 14 months in Melbourne, we remain positive on the medium-term outlook for the city and believe it remains one of the top investment destinations nationally if not globally at present,” Mr Burrows said.

“We’re excited to see what we can do with this blank canvas”.

In 2019, Fidinam, for ST ARE, paid $52m for the historic Swann House – which like Invicta House has airspace development upside. That vendor, Orion, was also represented by Colliers.

Twenty metres from Swanston Street

Mr Wolman said Invicta House at 226-232 Flinders Lane attracted 10 offers from over 300 enquiries.

Until recently it housed Victoria Police and Greenhouse Backpackers.

Swinburne acquired it from the Lazarovits family which operated the backpacker business.

“The blank canvas opportunity sitting on a corner block in one of Melbourne’s most desired pockets saw interest from all types of buyers, which had negotiations running deep into the new year,” Mr Wolman said.

“Flinders Lane is the epicentre of Melbourne’s renowned cosmopolitan culture and offers an abundance of hospitality and retail offerings,” according to the executive.

“It is a vibrant, 24/7 destination, popular with locals as well as interstate and international tourists.

“The property is also situated within 20 metres of Swanston St, Melbourne CBD’s busiest retail strip and the main pedestrian thoroughfare for commuters traveling to and from the CBD via Flinders St station,” Mr Wolman added “The purchaser has just secured a piece of Melbourne’s history and invested in its future and we are excited to see the next chapter for this magnificent building”.

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Marc Pallisco

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